A cosy retreat for a grapefruit tree.....

Dear Martin

I have a grapefruit tree grown from a pip which is now 33 years old and around 6 feet tall.  It is getting too big to lug into the house for the winter. Would lagging the pot and a plant cosy solve the problem if I put it on a south-facing wall in a sheltered position?  I would prune it to fit the largest of your cosies if necessary as I have had to prune it to get it inside for several years. Anything you can suggest would be very gratefully received.

Many thanks

Jane Faiers 

Dear Jane

Many thanks for your recent message regarding the winter protection of your grapefruit tree. If you’ve managed to grow the tree from seed and keep it happily growing for over 30 years, there’s probably not much advice I can give you, but I can certainly provide further details on the plant jackets we supply.

The largest jacket product code GDN-913 would obviously be the only one suitable for your purpose. The jacket is made from 30 gram per square metre fleece, which will give protection to plants down to -2 degrees C. Grapefruit trees can tolerate temperatures of 4 degrees C but no lower, so the jacket would certainly be suitable in this aspect.

It sounds like you’ve identified an ideal winter location for the tree, and one thing I have learned through the experience of using the fleece jackets is to remove them whenever possible – they have such good insulation properties that humidity and temperature can soon build up underneath on sunny winter days. The jackets have a drawstring which allows you to easily remove them from the plant, and pruning the tree to fit, which you mention in your message, will certainly help with this task.

I should mention at this point that we are hoping to feature a range of new zip-up plant jackets in our catalogue, due to publication in late December. These jackets are made from 70gsm fleece - with the jumbo size an extra cosy 100gsm - and are even easier to remove, courtesy of the zip fastener. These new jackets will also appear on our website  before Christmas, so if the weather holds, this might be the place to go Christmas shopping!

Hopefully this information is of some help and please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions or queries.