Handwarmers Benefit Young Citrus Trees during Freezes

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  • 1 Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850
  • 2 U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2120 Camden Road, Orlando, FL 32803

Handwarmers placed inside conventional insulating tree wraps increased trunk temperatures and improved tree survival under freeze conditions. Handwarmers generate heat by oxidation of Fe powder. In freeze-chamber tests with air temperature as low as –7.1C for 4 hours, wraps plus handwarmers kept trunk temperatures above freezing. Handwarmers increased minimum temperatures by 7C during a one-night freeze. Benefit of the handwarmer decreased the second night of a simulated two-night freeze but still increased minimum temperature by 1.3C. Tree survival was significantly improved by handwarmers in the freeze-chamber tests. In a field test during a mild freeze, handwarmers increased the minimum temperature by 3.5C the first night but provided no benefit the second night.

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