Looking out over your yard and seeing frost damaged plants is a sight that commonly freezes up any visions of having a winter wonderland a property owner might have. Really, unless you know how and when to protect plants from freezing, it’s a likely possibility that your winter landscape may become a bit bleak as it succumbs to the blustery weather and frigid temperatures of the season.
Hard Facts of Hardiness
It’s important to learn, then, the basics of protecting plants from frost. You need to understand not only how to protect plants from frost, but also when to cover plants and which plants have a hardiness rating that will help keep them going strong through the season. Not sure what plant hardiness is? It’s actually a term that refers to numbers that plants are given to indicate the temperatures at which they freeze and die. There are hormones produced by some plants that protect them from freezing, and these plants are given lower hardiness ratings than the plants that don’t produce as much of this protective hormone. The lower the hardiness rating, the better the plants will fare in winter.
Certain areas of the country are more attuned to the needs of plants with higher hardiness, while other regions may need plants with a lower rating. As you make your own plan of action for winter lawn care, ask a local professional about plant hardiness zones and what zone your particular area may be a part of or go online to do research of your own with this map.
Freeze Damage in Its Tracks
Regardless of their hardiness level, you still need to know the best ways to protect plants from freezing so that any damage can stay at a minimum. Using a plant covering of some kind like a sheet or blanket will help insulate plants overnight during a light freeze or even during a short snap of cold weather, while harder freezes will likely require the additional protection added by using a layer of plastic over the blankets or sheets. There must be a barrier between the plant and the plastic, however, because the plastic can damage the plant. Remove all coverings in the morning to reduce the threat of building up condensation, which will only re-freeze and damage the plant.
To protect plants from freezing during extended freezes or very hard and deep freezes, you’ll need to apply a heavy layer of mulch around the roots of the plants. Placing jugs of warm water into the mulch every night will help add protection to the roots and help reduce the likelihood that the root system will be killed.
If the freeze is forecast in enough time to prepare to a greater extent, create a stronger barrier of insulation around the plant. Start by neatly tying up the plant, then driving stakes into the ground around the plant, using stakes that are at least as tall at the plant itself. Wrap burlap around the stakes to create a fence-like structure and then fill the interior space with hay or leaves. Warm water jugs placed inside will also add extra warmth, as will strings of lights wrapped around the plant. Again, remove the coverings when the freeze is over so that moisture will not build up and the plant can get the sunlight it needs.
Freeze out the damage of frost! Call the outdoor experts at Executive Landscaping, Inc., today!