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Protecting Plants in Frost – Even in the South

9 Nifty Tricks for Protecting Plants In Frost

When most people think of Florida, they picture sunny skies and endless days of warmth. If you’ve spent any length of time here, however, you’ve learned firsthand that’s a myth that doesn’t exactly hold up – most notably in winter and spring. Florida is prone to odd and unexpected changes in the weather, especially when it comes to the highs and lows of our temperature gauges, and for plants that can be a deadly thing.

Key to protecting the investment you’ve made in your landscaping is knowing how to protect your plants from frost. Plan ahead, and the masterpiece of your yard will stay looking lovely, even after the frost has come and gone.

· Cover your plants before nightfall and be sure that the covering you use extends to the top o the soil. The pre-dark hours are key here because waiting until darkness falls will mean that most of the heat stored by your garden during the light of day will have dissipated. Once the frost has thawed in the morning, remove the covers.

· Use jugs of water to warm things up. Fill empty plastic milk containers with water and set them out in the sun, where they can naturally soak up heat during the day. Before you cover your plants at dusk, set the jugs close up around the plants. The warm water in the jugs will lose the trapped heat more slowly than the soil and air do, and that warmth will also keep your plants warm.

· Water your plants before a frost. By watering the night before a spring frost, you can actually protect them from freezing because the wet soil will release moisture into the air during the night, which will also raise the temperature of the air and keep your plants warmer than they would without watering.

· Think about location. Place seedlings and newly bought spring plants in a location that is less likely to experience damaging cold and frost. The higher the location, the better, because cold air moving to lower ground will naturally bypass plants located on high ground. Placement by shrubbery, walls, and fences can also shield them from light frosts. During the day, walls and fences absorb heat and radiate it throughout the night hours, which keeps plants warmer and protects them against frost.

· Select plants that are hardy. Some plants, vegetables and flowers are hardy and resistant to cold weather, which better enables them to thrive through the harsh temps. At Executive Landscaping, Inc., we have the expertise you need for a landscape that incorporates hardy plants for our region and create a masterpiece you’ll love all year long.

· Wrap the trunks of your fruit trees in the fall with strips made of burlap or special tree wrap, which will prevent their thin bark from splitting when the temperature fluctuates drastically.

· Avoid low places in the ground when you sow seeds or bed new plants. These depressions form what is referred to as “frost pockets” because cold air collects there and becomes trapped, which often causes frost damage to any plants growing in these locations.

· Protect your potted plants by bringing them indoors. The roots of potted plants experience more severe temperature fluctuations and reach lower temperatures than those planted in the ground, leaving them extremely susceptible to root damage from the cold. Root damage may not always kill the plant, but it will certainly stunt its growth.

· Acclimate your seedlings to the weather before you actually plant them. This is a process called “hardening off” that will help your plants withstand the harsh weather that comes with early spring. Once the weather has become milder and reaches above 45 degrees, begin hardening off about two weeks prior to transplanting by placing the seedlings outside during the day in warm and shady spots that are protected against the wind. Bring them back indoors at night. After two weeks of hardening off, the seedlings will be stronger, sturdier, and all set for transplanting.

Give the team of experts at Executive Landscaping, Inc., a call today to learn more about how we can help you protect your plants and landscaping against the hazards of frost!