Heat and Cold


What methods do farmers use to protect crops from frost and sudden freezes?

Frosts and freezes can prove to be a major hazard to crops, especially in warmer climes where such incidents are rare. Some crops, such as citrus fruits, are particularly vulnerable, and there have been many years where orange, lemon, avocado, and other such produce have been nearly wiped out in places such as Florida, California, and Texas because of a sudden frost. One method that has been used to protect crops is called a smudge pot. These are portable burners that create heavy clouds of smoke, which help to hold in warmer temperatures closer to the ground. Environmentalists do not favor this method, however, because it creates a lot of pollution.

Another preventative strategy is to use huge wind machines. These giant fans blow warmer air downward onto the ground, circulating away the colder air that hangs low to the surface. Interestingly, farmers sometimes also coat their crops in ice to protect them from frost damage! Using sprinklers, they will spray the vegetation down, and, as long as the temperature does not drop below 25°F (–4°C), the crops do better than if they are allowed to go unprotected from the frost.

Winters are an unpleasant time for most people, but some people are actually allergic to cold!

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