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Freezing Cold Temperatures

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The freezing cold weather in Northern California is on everyone’s mind this morning.  The low this morning in San Francisco was 39 and the high is only projected for 50. We are now in the middle of the Satsuma season and this morning I called Rich Ferreira, the Side Hill Citrus grower from Lincoln, CA to see how his Satsuma trees are faring during the cold weather.

Rich said that the temperatures dropped to about 22-25 degrees last night and the cold weather is expected to go through Tuesday, with Saturday being the coldest day. Satsumas unlike many types of citrus are able to withstand temperatures as cold as 20 degrees. Side Hill Citrus is located about a half hour north of Sacramento. The key is how many hours it stays cold. The longer it stays cold each day and when it goes on for multiple days, this can cause problems.


The cold weather can freeze the liquid inside the cells of the fruit, cracking the cells and drying out the piece of fruit. Rich doesn’t think it was cold enough last night to have a negative effect on the fruit.  He also has two things on his side. His orchard is lucky to have slopping hills(hence the name Side Hill) so that they get a little natural air flow protection and secondly the temperature today will rise to 50 which will warm up the soil and protect the trees. Rich will wait it out for a few hours today until the temperature is warmer and then start cutting pieces of fruit to see how they look inside. Sometimes though, the grower cannot tell if the piece of fruit has been damaged until a few weeks after the frost is over. Stay tuned for updates on the weather and how it is affecting your produce.

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