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Cold Snap Shouldn't Threaten Major Citrus Production Areas

Citrus greening (Huanglongbing) is reeking havoc on Florida's citrus industry.
A. Barra via Wikimedia commons

A cold snap is bringing freezing temperatures to Florida this weekend. But one citrus scientist says the state’s embattled growers shouldn’t see much damage. 

Temperatures could drop below freezing in some parts of North and Central Florida this weekend. But the strongest impacts shouldn’t reach the state’s major citrus production areas.

Still, University of Florida scientist Tripti Vashisth says growers should monitor the forecast. She's based at UF's Citrus Research and Education Center in Polk County. 

“At least in Polk County where I am right now it seems 40 is the lowest, what the national website says. But growers really need to know…there are certain pockets they might be lower than they average temperature. So they need to know and have a plan,” Vashisth said. 

But those farther north, or who find themselves in a particularly cold area, should start planning how to respond. 

"If it's going to be in the 30s, they really need to have cold protection," she said.

The cold snap comes as the state's citrus trees are stressed, and still recovering from the disease citrus greening and the impacts of Hurricane Irma. Trees that have put on new growth since the storm could be especially vulnerable to freezing temperatures. 

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.