Hardy plants, look out! Even with mild winter weather this year, a quick drop in below-freezing temperatures can cause severe frost damage even to the toughest greens. As colder weather creeps in, it is imperative to keep Jack Frost away from your plants.
To the naked eye, frost is a thing of beauty. The shapes and designs that ice can make on a plant or on glass can be awe inspiring. But for your lawn and garden, frost can be a deal breaker for spring beauty. If proper plant protection is not taken, frost can do a number on your plants.
Even on cold days your plants take in much needed heat from the sun. After the sun goes down your plant may frost if the temperature drops below freezing because it loses any heat it stored up throughout the day. As the temperature drops, dew forms from the moisture in the air. If the air is below freezing, then that dew turns into frost.
The worst kind of frost is one that makes its way to the plant cells. Penetrating the plant cells can put your plant in danger. Luckily there are simple steps that can be done to protect your plants from those frigid temperatures.
How to Protect Your Plants
All you need to accomplish these simple steps is a little bit of prep-work and a little landscaping TLC.
Mulching can be as simple as sprinkling some pine straw about four inches thick around your plants. Make sure all areas of the plant are covered. You can also use hay or peat moss if you have some available. This protective layer will keep moisture in the ground around your plant. And the moisture will help retain the heat the plant takes in during the day.
Before you lay your first layer of mulch, go ahead and give your plant a good watering to build up the moisture before it is covered. On extremely cold nights be sure to give your plants a little bit of water before the sun goes down.
While most people know to prune their plants before winter arrives, did you know there is a proper way to prune? The density of your plant, how sensitive it is to frost, and if it is a fruit bearing plant will determine the best way to keep it pruned properly. Be sure to research each of your plants before you go to town with your pruning sheers. Proper pruning can go a long way in helping reduce the risk of frost on most of your plants.
Cover your most sensitive plants in cloth sheets or potato bags. Covering your plants in a material that has tiny holes is best. This allows your plants to breath. Be sure to remove your coverings first thing in the morning so that your plant can get as much sun exposure as possible. The covering helps lock in moisture and fight off any chances of frost.
Plan for the Future
Your landscaping design can actually play a vital role in protecting your plants from frost damage. For instance, when adding new plants to your landscaping, place weather-sensitive plants where less wind can get to them, such as under a tree or near a fence. Partial shade plants can be planted under a tree for more winter protection as well.
Another major factor in landscaping design and frost prevention is proper soil and water drainage. Does your yard have a slope or a does water pool in a certain space in your yard? Avoid planting in places that may allow water to gather and freeze quickly.
Doing just a few simple things this season can have a major effect on how your plants blossom in the spring. Frost prevention is for both the hardy and sensitive plants that call your yard their home.