Icy Wonderland in Enterprise

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WTVY) - Not too many of us like temperatures below freezing.
But for certain crops like satsumas, it's a good thing.

If you travel along highway 84 in Enterprise, you may run into an icy landscape.
Bobby Helms, Owner of Country Best Farm says:
"Yeah everybody seems to be excited when they see the tree and with ice on it and they wonder how can you protect your tree when it's iced out?"

Bobby Helms has been growing satsumas for more than a decade and he'll ice over his trees when it gets extremely cold.

"When temperatures are below 28 degrees we turn the water on for the duration of that temperature that's lower than 28 degrees."

Many customers ask why.
Helms says:
"When you run water through the sprinkler, the water goes in at 65 degrees and your ambient temperature is say below 26 or 27 and when that water goes to ice it gives off heat, that's the difference in the temperature...the heat is going to escape."
"This heat will help protect the tree."

Helms has had to protect more satsumas this growing season.
"This was an abundant year, this is the most fruit we have ever made, that's the reason you see a lot of the fruit still on the tree."

Since 2002, Helms has been building his satsuma farm.
"My first year, I planted 25 the next year I planted 25 so they have been added in increments of 25 over the years."

Currently he has about 200 trees with more than 50 newly planted ones.
With this abundance, customers are still coming in purchasing what's left of the sweet & savory fruit.
Jerry Weeks who is a customer says:
"I just came in and saw this beautiful, beautiful fruit... stopped in and Mr. Helms is a real nice fella and said you can cut them if you want to."
"I've eaten more than I've cut I think."

So if you too want to prolong your fruit tree's life, Helms has some suggestions.
"If you want to save that tree, there's a few things you can do and the first thing of course is to put a sprinkler on it down closer to the bottom of the tree and you can also take a set of Christmas tree lights and wrap them around, anything that will give off heat in order to protect that tree."

Helms also says he is in the process of growing trees that he will have available to sell this spring.



 
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