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Problem Solver: Treating Freeze Damage

Be patient! Wait and determine the extent of damage before pruning. Identify the graft or bud union, and make sure the fruiting wood above the graft is still green and healthy. If it is viable it should produce new buds in the spring. If there is little rain, check soil to make sure it is evenly moist. Fertilize lightly.

If the tree experiences leaf drop, watch for the appearance of new buds. After bud break you can prune trees back about 25-50%. Citrus trees' winter store of food is primarily in the leaves, so if the tree defoliates it must draw from limited reserves in the roots.

If necessary, protect trunk and branches from sunburn by painting with a 50% dilution of white latex paint.

Bordeaux spray (10 parts Copper sulfate, 10 parts zinc sulfate to 100 parts water) is good for winter diseases when there is a lot of rain or high humidity. Follow label directions carefully.

To prevent frost damage in the future, review these techniques for minimizing frost damage.