The Coachella Valley was under a freeze warning that ended this Thursday morning. Temperatures dipped below 30 degrees in the Eastern side of the valley.
Arthur Futterman, a longtime local farmer, said it got to 29.7 degrees.
The chilly temperatures can be devastating for local farmers like the Futtermans. “We grow 37 varieties of dates and it’s amazing how different they are,” Futterman said. The Futterman Family Farm also grows a range of citrus trees.
Futterman said if it gets too cold, the fruit can be ruined. “The trees will actually get damaged if they freeze. The leaves will turn black and die,” he explained.
In the same way people need to bundle up when it is cold, plants also need to be protected from harsh weather.
“Every tree has a couple little puddles of warm water underneath it acting like a little radiator, bringing that warm temperature up into the tree,” Futterman said about his grapefruit trees and how he keeps them warm.
Grapefruits thrive in warm temperatures, which is why freezing temps can be dangerous.
Futterman said if you have any citrus plants at home, make sure to protect them from the cold.
“Put the garden hose under there and turn a little trickle on. Let the warm water come up through the tree,” he said. Adding to make sure you turn the water off in the morning.
Like many other farmers this time of year, Futterman is watching the weather report like a hawk.