Pearl River crop farmers ready for hard freeze - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pearl River crop farmers ready for hard freeze

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Local farmers and nursery owners spent the day preparing for a visit from old man winter. Protecting their main investments plants and crops is part of maintaining a healthy business. But as WLOX News found out, it's a big job to get ready for a hard freeze.

With 276 trees across his property, Vernon Pigott is the largest Satsuma farmer in the Mississippi. He says protecting those trees during hard freezes is not an easy task. "There is no one cure all thing to do . The size of the tree has a lot to do with how much it can stand," said Pigott.

The family run farm is located on Pigott Lane just off of Highway 43 in Picayune.

Pigott says the health of his trees as they stand will determine how they will fair during this cold snap and hard freezes to come. "The tree roots have just as much to do with its survival as the outside does. So if you have a wet winter they will survive a lot better than if it was dry, so if the roots are comfortable that helps the tree to survive," explained Pigott. 

Pigott's grandson spent the day making sure the crop had plenty of water.

Eddie Smith with the Mississippi State University Extension Service said the same ideology can be applied to smaller homes and gardens.
"A lot of people don't think about that but plants need water whenever it freezes. That helps to maintain the plants temperature," said Smith.

He said residents should bring vegetation that can be brought inside into shelter. Cover plants that can't be moved with cloth, and consider a heating source. "I have had clients use old Christmas lights and wrap their plants with those and turn them on, they provide enough heat to prevent them from freezing," said Smith. 

But he said if you use plastic to cover your plants, make sure it comes off in a timely manner. "You have to be careful when using plastic you can put it on at night time but in the morning. You have to make sure you take it off because it's going to trap in the heat which you want it to do. But during the day the heat and sun will come up and it can actually cook the plant," said Smith.

Anyone with questions about protecting tinder vegetation during the cold snap over the next few days can contact the extension service for advice at 601-403-2280
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