Freezing temperatures and tree fruit

by  Mary Concklin, Visiting Associate Extension Educator – Fruit Production & IPM, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Long time fruit growers know what to do after a freeze occurs with fruit still to be harvested, so this is aimed at those who are relatively new to fruit growing and a reminder to those who may have forgotten.

Freezing temperatures are predicted for Saturday and Sunday nights as well as in cold pockets tonight. Fruit won’t freeze at 320F. They will freeze at temperatures around 28-290F. Wait to pick fruit that has frozen until it has completely thawed. Partially thawed fruit will bruise very easily.

Make sure all fruit that has been picked has been moved out of the field and into the cooler or at least into an area where it will be protected from the cold. Fruit that has frozen in the bins/boxes/crates should not be moved until the fruit has thawed completely – again, just the act of moving the containers will bruise the fruit.

Frozen fruit should not be placed in CA or long term cold storage. Keep an eye on fruit in short term storage for early breakdown.

With berries, once they freeze, harvest is over and vacation can begin. (I wish) Stay warm and good luck with the rest of your harvest.

– Mary

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