Q: I have a three-foot tall lemon tree and a six-foot tall orange tree growing on my patio. I am tired of pulling them into the garage in winter. Do you think they could possible survive on the patio next to the house?
A: No matter how you protect them, your citrus will be frozen if you leave them outdoors. But don’t give up hope! Consider discarding these plants and growing citrus that is hardier. The Southeastern Palm and Exotic Plant Society plans to release a report on growing hardy citrus soon. The North American Fruit Explorers organization has a southern sub-group called the Southern Fruit Fellowship (broken link – www.nafex.org/sff.html). The California Rare Fruit Growers group has a great series of fact-sheets on tropical fruits. These fruit enthusiasts can offer lots of information on citrus plants that have a better chance of surviving the winter than your lemon and orange trees.