Papaya is a tropical fruit, and it thrives in warm environments.
If you live in colder regions, taking care of papaya trees in winter can be difficult.
We have put together a helpful guide on how to protect papaya tree from frost.
Papaya fruit and the plant can be sensitive to colder temperatures, and if not taken care of properly, the plant can die. It is best to grow them in warmer regions to have a healthy growth and successful harvest of the papaya plant.
However, if you live in a colder climate, it certainly doesn’t mean you cannot grow papaya plants.
With extra care and helpful instructions, you can learn how to protect the papaya tree from frost and keep it safe.
Immunity to Cold?
As we mentioned earlier, papayas are tropical plants.
Hence, they are not very tolerant or immune to cold temperatures.
If you have young papaya plants growing in cold regions, then they are very likely to be severely damaged or even die due to freezing temperatures.
If your papaya plant is exposed to a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit for some hours, then it could cause slight damage to a fully grown plant.
However, plants are most likely to die if they remain exposed to a freezing or subfreezing temperatures.
Overwatering or flooding your plants during colder months can kill off your plants too.
If the roots stay submerged for 48 hours, the plant will suffer significant damage due to cold and die out quickly.
Damage Caused by Frost to Plant
Before you learn how to protect papaya trees from frost, you need to understand how the frost can damage your papaya plants.
- The cold weather can damage the new growths of your plant, such as the foliage or the growing tips. Not only can it damage new growths, but it can damage and kill the whole plant itself.
- A low temperature just above the freezing point, i.e., 32–34 degrees Fahrenheit, will drastically affect the plant by killing the new leaves and growing parts.
However, the plant could be saved even if the new growths die.
As long as the roots and stem of the plants are kept dried before winter, the plant will survive and be able to procreate in the next season.
Want to know how to protect papaya tree from frost? Let’s learn!
How to Protect Papaya Tree from Frost?
Understanding how frost can affect your young plants is very important to assess how to prevent this damage and protect the plants.
We have compiled a list of beneficial tips on how to protect the papaya tree from frost and keep it safe and healthy.
- Use burlap sacks or polythene bags to cover your young papaya plants or their new growths. (A bag or sac will be a barrier between the plant and its environment.) It will prevent the frost from hitting the plant directly and act as an insulator. The bag will entrap and maintain heat inside despite the cold weather outside.
- If you live in a cold region and know the temperature can drop to freezing or below freezing point, then the ideal solution is to grow your plants in a greenhouse or indoors. Having them in a greenhouse will allow you to control the temperature and protect the papaya trees from a cold environment.
- Using LED bulbs and grow lights can be a game-changer. These bulbs provide sufficient heat and light for the plants to survive the frost. Avoid using regular bulbs or Christmas lights as they are low-energy lights and do not produce enough heat to protect the plants.
- Reduce watering the plants before the frost hits. Roots sitting in water are more prone to severe damage from frost and die off just as quickly.
- Sick plants or plants affected by root rot cannot survive the winter frost. Check your plants for any signs of sickness and treat them in time. Moreover, prevent overwatering at all costs.
- Mulching is another effective way to protect the papaya tree from frost. Adding a thick layer of mulch (2–3 inches) will insulate the plant from the cold temperature and help retain the heat. It will also save the roots from harsh weather, and as long as they stay healthy, the plant will have a greater chance of survival.
There you go! These were the six helpful tips on how to protect papaya tree from frost.
Effect of Cold Weather on Papaya Fruit
The weather must not be freezing to cause trouble for the papaya plants and fruits.
Cold temperatures below 60 degrees can significantly retard the papaya fruit’s growth and hinder the fruit’s ripening rate, causing delayed ripening. If the temperature in your region is low, the papaya plants will produce bland fruits of lower quality.
It is best advised to remove all fruits from the trees that might have stayed at a lower temperature for a long period to avoid having low-quality fruits.
Here’s a video that might be of your help:
Protecting From Cold After Harvest
Even after the papaya fruits have been harvested, they are still prone to damage and injuries caused by cold temperatures.
If the papaya fruit is stored at a low temperature below 35, the fruit can develop Alternaria rot and chilling injury.
Chilling injuries include uneven ripening of fruit, pitting, splotches on the rind, hard center, and soggy flesh.
Green papayas are more prone to chilling injuries than ripe papayas.
Therefore, make sure to take care of your papayas even after harvesting.
Growing fruits and harvesting them is very rewarding.
However, growing tropical fruits like papaya can be challenging in colder regions.
If you live in an area with cold temperatures, you might most likely suffer from protecting your plants and fruits from frost and the calamities of freezing temperatures. To ease the trouble for you, our experts have put together this guide on how to protect papaya tree from frost.
Not only can you save your papaya plants and fruits, but you can also enjoy papayas’ fresh and heavenly taste by following our instructions!