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What are the most cold-hardy citrus varieties?

Several varieties of citrus are known for their cold hardiness, capable of withstanding colder temperatures better than others. Here are some of the most cold-hardy citrus varieties:

  1. Kumquat: Kumquats are extremely cold hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 18°F (-8°C). They are small, citrus fruits that can be eaten whole, including the peel.

  2. Satsuma Mandarin: Satsumas are one of the most cold-hardy citrus varieties, able to withstand temperatures as low as 15°F (-9°C). They are prized for their easy peeling and sweet flavor.

  3. Meyer Lemon: Meyer lemons are a hybrid citrus fruit believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or orange. They are more cold tolerant than true lemons and can survive temperatures down to around 20°F (-6°C).

  4. Calamondin: Calamondin is a cold-hardy citrus tree that produces small, sour fruits. It can tolerate temperatures down to around 20°F (-6°C).

  5. Trifoliate Orange (Poncirus trifoliata): While not typically consumed fresh due to its sour taste and numerous seeds, the trifoliate orange is extremely cold hardy, tolerating temperatures as low as -10°F (-23°C). It is often used as a rootstock for grafting other citrus varieties to impart cold hardiness.

  6. Yuzu: Yuzu is a cold-hardy citrus fruit native to East Asia. It can tolerate temperatures down to about 10°F (-12°C). Yuzu is prized for its aromatic zest and juice, which are used in various culinary applications.

  7. UGA Citrus Varieties: The UGA Sweet Frost Tangerine, Pink Frost Grapefruit, Grand Frost Lemon, and Southern Frost Navel Orange were developed at UGA's campus in Tifton about Dr. Wayne Hanna specifically to withstand the South Georgia winters. That are rated for Zone 8B (15-20°F). The UGA Sweet Frost Tangerine is the most cold hardy of the four.

These varieties are better suited for regions with colder climates or for growers who experience occasional frost. However, it's important to note that even cold-hardy citrus may still require protection during severe freezes, especially when they are young or when temperatures drop below their established thresholds for extended periods.

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