Make a Frost Shelter for Young Citrus + Avo’s

lemonade frost protection

Autumn is the time of year to think about tucking your young citrus and tender subtropicals (eg: tamarillo, banana, passionfruit + avocado) in a cosy house to protect them from the bitter cold of winter and spring.

Where night temps drop below 10 °C for extended periods of time, I’d be making a shelter. Small, heat loving trees, need an extra layer to keep them steady throughout the colder months. In time, as the trees canopy increases, they will have their own layer, but until then, a homemade one will make a massive difference to overall growth!

I’m a huge fan of simple, but sturdy. Your shelter needs to withstand wind + downpours and be secure enough that the cloth doesn’t flap about and rub on young tender shoots, or indeed fly away.

A Simple, Sturdy Frost Cloth Shelter

A four sided frost cloth house, complete with lid is the very best way.

Bang four stakes in – one each corner. I use waratahs (or star pickets) because they’ll handle all the weather and will last in ground for the next 3 or so winters which brings the bonus of not needing to redo the entire structure each autumn. To this end, space the stakes generously, leaving loads of room for tree growth. Get them banged in now, ready for you to pop the frost cloth on when temperatures dive.

The best cover is frost cloth or horticultural fleece – be ready to go by having enough to hand.

Tie the cloth on late autumn or whenever the morning temps start to dip low at your place. The lid is possibly the most important bit, holding any warm air within. Leave a little air gap at the bottom for circulation.

Take it off when frosts are over late spring.

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  1. Christine Chatterton says

    Thanks for the reminder!!!

  2. Thanks for the advice! My baby avocado nearly didn’t make it through last winter, even with frostcloth on coldest days. I’m doing two layers now, and vaporgard spray.
    Will it harm a tree if it is covered on a warm day? It might get rather hot in there if temp is 17 or 18.

  3. Kate Timmins says

    Hi Kath,
    I’m about to plant some avocados in the far, far north in an area that has a lot of commercial avocados. We have sand then peat soil but water table is 1 metre down. I’m thinking best to plant them in a mound to be safe?

    • I’d be talking to the neighbouring avocado growers Kate – they’ll be your best bet here by far! It seems to me on sand that you’d be wanting to hang about soil level, but yeah, talk to the local pros 🙂