How PTOs Aid Citrus Growers in Freeze Protection

Citrus crop PTO

In the irrigation world, when one thinks of mechanical PTOs, the first thing that comes to mind is moving water to aid in the hydration of plants or the storage and removal of surplus water. However, in the farming of citrus and some fruits, the use of these irrigation systems goes much deeper. Such is the case in citrus farming in the Southeast US.

The mild, subtropical climates in this region can sometimes give way to frigid arctic blasts that wipe out entire crops if gone unchecked. While several methods of freeze protection have been utilized over the years, such as bonfires and smudge pots, one approach has proven to be exceptionally effective by using a resource that’s already in place in most groves. The method I’m speaking of is the grove’s irrigation system. While spraying water on trees in freezing conditions may seem counterintuitive, the science behind this practice makes perfect sense. 

Preparing for Freezing Weather

As temperatures begin to plummet, farmers prepare their irrigation systems by ensuring that all their equipment is functional. Pump sets are fueled and cranked, and clutches are adjusted and greased. Once the operation starts, it cannot be stopped until temperatures are back above the critical freezing point. When the temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the sprinklers are engaged. With an average groundwater temperature of 19 – 23 degrees Celsius (67 – 73 degrees Fahrenheit), the mist generated helps raise the surrounding ground temperature and air to move above the freezing mark and hold it there until the ambient temperature is restored to an acceptable level. 

Weather Proof

Having equipment you can count on is paramount. Timing is so critical because freezing temperatures can occur with little notice. WPT mechanical PTOs are made for such conditions and manufactured with the highest quality materials. WPT’s clutches are field proven and built to withstand the elements. Our sealed for life ball bearing collar assemblies translate to one less thing to worry about when a weather event like an unscheduled freeze forces your hand.

WPT makes mechanical PTOs in sizes 6” – 18” and SAE housings from #5 – #0. If you build pump packages for irrigation, industrial or municipal flood control, contact WPT today for a comprehensive application review. We can provide your company with quality products and unparalleled service at the most competitive prices in the industry. Contact us today at or (940) 761-1971.

Written by: John Bardwell, North American Sales Representative