Meyer lemon with shelter trees
The photo at right shows a -5°C frost in August less than 1km from the sea in the South Island. But with help, these Meyer lemons and lemonade trees survived and are now fruiting after a few years of growth. This is in an area known for its high rainfall and they’re not too far from the glaciers and icefields of the Southern Alps either.
Take a close look and you’ll see that my Meyer lemon is planted up against taller shelter trees ( Fuchsia excorticata, Pittosporum crassifolium) which almost overhang it and surround it with shelter from the chilly southerly. The deep green foliage under the trees is almost frostfree, while there is white frost on the open paddock in front.
In contrast, the peach tree (at left) is quite happy with this level of chill and is even budding as it thinks it’s spring and time for a peach. Frost is really good for pip and stone fruit. Late frosts are bad for delicate blossoms like almonds, walnuts, grapes and apricots, nipping the buds and reducing the fruit set. These trees love a winter frost but they like a definite end to winter too, followed by a mild spring and hot summer.
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