Top 10 Frost Protection Tips For Your Plants
Temperatures during winter nights frequently drops below freezing several times a year. For the vineyard owners there are expensive ways to deal with this frost and they install expensive wind machines or overhead sprinkling systems to protect their valuable crops. For the home gardeners those expensive plant protections would not be an option.
For all the home gardeners the easiest and most practical method of frost-protection is to select and grow cold-tolerant plants in your garden. here are top ten frost-protection methods for your help;
- Choose the site for frost-tender plants carefully. Know better about the microclimates in your area as well as your garden. Avoid low areas where pockets of cold air collect and open ground exposed to wind. Most probably the warmest place in your garden would like be a wind-facing wall with an overhang.
- Monitor irrigation carefully. Water-stressed plants are much more susceptible to frost damage. Moist soil holds heat better than dry soil. Give plants a little more water a day or so before frost is expected and then again after frost has hit.
- Resisting fertilizing during such times will help not to stimulate new growth. Tender young shoots are easily damaged by frost. Start your feeding program after the last frost in spring and stop in late summer.
- Pruning also stimulates growth. You must avoid pruning frost-tender plants in fall or winter to prevent new growth from emerging. Because of the prevalence of succulent young growth and flower buds, late spring frosts can be the most damaging.
- In case you observe that despite all your best efforts your plants still experience frost injury, put your clippers away. You should never attempt trimming off unsightly damage until new growth emerges in the spring. Even frost-damaged foliage will provide some protection for the plant, and cutting back too soon will encourage the growth of sensitive new shoots.
- Growing some plants in containers would also be a better option as such plants can easily be moved from one place to another. Europeans constructed orangeries centuries ago for their valuable citrus plants. You could also put wheels on the pots of your favorite frost-tender plants and roll them under cover beside the garage for winter.
- In absence of any such provisions for long-term frost protection, you can take some emergency stops when frost threatens. Construct a shelter for the plant with a frame of four stakes and a burlap or canvas cover. Make sure the cover does not touch the leaves. Do not use polyethylene or other non-breathing plastic. Remove the covering during the day.
- You will find various types of frost-cloths in hardware stores and nurseries . In a pinch, you can throw an old sheet over a plant to reduce heat loss, but keep in mind that any foliage that touches the cover may be damaged by frost.
- Additional heat and temperature sometimes becomes crucial and you may string holiday lights in the plant or mount trouble lights at the base. Be sure to use outdoor lights and extension cords, and do not let the lights touch the cover of the shelter.
- As an emergency option commercial sprays could also be used for creating a few degrees of protection if applied before the onset of frost.
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