Homeowners, gardeners, and plant enthusiasts must consider all weather elements, including frost, to develop successful weed-control methods. Gardeners must not only think about how to combat weeds and pests effectively but also consider the entire picture of the weather, including frost. From the landscape experts at Paradise Landscape and Hardscapes, here is some excellent advice on how to prevent frost damage to plants:
First of all, What is Frost?
Frost generally appears on calm, clear nights when the temperature is close to freezing. With no wind, cold air settles near the ground. Vapor from the air condenses and turns into ice crystals on plants. A light frost can occur at temperatures below 40°F, and a frost advisory is usually issued in spring or fall if the forecast predicts it will be between 36°F and 32°F at some point during those seasons. We all know how frigid it can get in Annapolis winters here in Maryland.
How Does Frost Affect Plants?
Many plants are damaged by the cold, but not all do so. Delicate spring blooms, potted plants, delicate fruits and vegetables, and perennial flowers are all particularly prone to freezing. Most established plants and certain early floras can withstand a few hours of light frost with little or no damage; however, the longer the period and the lower the temperature, the more likely it is to be harmful. Frost damage isn’t always apparent, but here are some signs to watch for:
- Outer leaves are drooping
- Leaves are wilted
- Black or brown color changes are usually an indicator as well
- Leaves that are dead or dying
Tips for Preventing Frost Damage to Plants
The most vulnerable time for garden trees to experience frost damage is between early spring and late fall when overnight temperatures are unpredictable. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and look for evidence that frost is approaching, such as clear, calm skies and declining afternoon temperatures. With these suggestions in mind, protect your yard from colder weather:
Short Term Frost Protection
Drape a lightweight cloth over your plants at sunset to prevent the cool night air from coming in contact with them. You can use a bed sheet, commercial frost cloth, or burlap plant cover. Cover seedlings or young plants with glass, plastic, or metal domes, flower pots, or buckets to keep them warm. Tighten up the excess cloth with bricks and rocks so it doesn’t blow away.
Keep your container plants safe from the cold by bringing them inside and away from heat sources.
By watering your plants early in the day, you allow them to absorb enough moisture so that they can endure a light frost later on. The water within the soil and plant cells will help retain heat.
Long-Term Protection from Frost
If you’re worried about your plants during the winter months when temperatures regularly dip below freezing, consider these options:
Wrap Your Shrubs, Trees, and Plants
Newly planted trees and shrubs and blooming plants such As azaleas, rhododendrons, and other reds may profit from being coated in burlap throughout the winter. Affix the material to the stakes with staples surrounding the plant’s perimeter using wooden stakes.
To learn more about how to prevent frost damage to plants or to book an appointment for commercial or residential landscaping services, call Paradise Landscape and Hardscapes at (443) 458-8858 or contact us below by filling out our quick FREE estimate form!