GILBERT, Ariz. - Citrus farmers in Arizona are working hard this week to keep their plants thriving during this cold snap as overnight temps flirt with the freezing mark, putting millions of dollars at stake.
The plants at Agritopia in Gilbert are doing well because the farmers plan in advance, and know how to handle the temps.
Farmers at Agritopia work to stay one step ahead of the weather.
"One thing we try to do, we try to keep things hydrated and so we do run irrigation to keep the plants hydrated with the cold temps because that can dehydrate them," explained Kelly Saxer, head farmer at Agritopia.
On near-freezing mornings, they do cover some of them, Saxer says, "to prevent some tip burn on lettuce, on things like that."
Many of the plants on the farm, like the citrus trees, are able to withstand the near-freezing weather, but once it dips to 25 degrees, that's when it becomes a problem.
"The fruit itself will start to freeze and that's the worst because you have a crop that looks good on the outside but on the inside, it's just frozen and dehydrated looking," Saxer said.
If they're frozen in the morning and defrost within eight hours, they'll be OK. In many cases, it just means a later start to these farmers' days, but the end product is worth it.
"One thing we will do is wait for it to defrost before it harvests, so it looks kind of scary, but usually, they're fine, so we wait till they defrost naturally, and then we can go and cut them," Saxer explained.
They continue to monitor these plants during the cold, and soon they'll be getting ready for those seasonal spring plants.