Question:

How do we protect our new lemon from the cold weather. Would it be a good idea to completely wrap the plants with burlap or plastic, or would this kill the plant?

Answer:

  • No, wrapping plants like an Egyptian Mummy for the winter is not recommended for cold winter protection. Instead, I'd protect cold-sensitive plants like all types of Citrus, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, and others by first spraying them with Bonide Wilt Stop. Next, I'd cover cold-sensitive plants when the temperatures fall below forty degrees.
  • The cold or freezing temperatures pull or remove moisture from plant tissue, and our coldest nighttime temperatures are just before sunrise. Cool is a desiccant.   After sunrise, the length of time temperatures stay at or below freezing determines the extent of the damage.
    • Also, it's recommended to water those rain-protected plants, usually in containers, every three to four weeks during the winter months. In-ground plants, landscape plants suffer if there is insufficient moisture in the ground before the cold spell. That is not the case this year, but it was a concern last year.
    • Bonide Wilt Stop puts a protective barrier between the foliage and the cold. One application now with a follow-up application in January is recommended. It's not unusual to have a cold spell in March.
      • When cold or freezing temperatures are in the forecast, move and cluster container plants under a patio covering or the house's eaves. I'd place them next to a heated wall when possible to use the escaping heat. Next, add some mini holiday lights to help warm the air and then cover them with Plant Blanket or a similar product to trap the warmer air.
      • A light fabric blanket would also work. Plastic sheeting is not recommended unless you tent each plant, so the plastic doesn't touch the foliage, as the cold travels through the plastic and causes damage.
      • The duel layer sheeting, plant blanket can be laid right on plants. Easy on and then easy off when the freezing temperatures pass. You can leave the plants covered for a couple of days, not weeks. 
    •   And finally, inevitably, it will not be sufficient for those freezing nights with all the above precautions. Once every ten to fifteen years, we will get a killing frost, and one is due soon. And finally, don't be in a hurry to prune off the damage. Any time after the March 15 would be okay. 

Question:

When is the earliest I can prune my fruit trees, I have an apple, apricot, and cherry?

Answer:

You can start now to prune deciduous fruit trees. Pruning in the fall is being recommended for apricots and deciduous fruit trees to avoid problems with moist and wet conditions with new pruning wounds. However, I'd wait on the apple or pear if the leaves have not started to drop.