September 29, 2014
Properly caring for plants takes a lot of planning and hard work. One thing every gardener should certainly prepare for is the first frost of the season. Below are some steps you can use to protect your plants from frost damage.
1. Bring Hanging and Potted Plants Inside
Most varieties of potted and hanging plants cannot survive cold temperatures. Thankfully, the solution is easy. Simply bring them inside where it’s warm. Just place them near windows where they can soak up some sun. Here are a few more tips:
• Windows facing the west and east receive more light than windows facing the north or south.
• Do no place potted plants near air vents. They could dry out their moisture and kill them.
• Make sure the plants aren’t physically touching the windows during cold weather.
2. Use Mulch to Insulate Your Soil
One thing you may not know about mulch is that it acts as an effective insulator. It acts to keep both heat and moisture from escaping the soil. This can protect the roots of many plants and allow them to survive through the cold. Try adding about two to three inches of mulch over the soil around your plants. Below are some tips for applying mulch to your plants:
• The best choices for mulch are made of either pine straw or wheat. These insult the soil the best and are easy to remove later on.
• Strawberries and roses don’t react as well to mulch as other plants.
• Mulch can also prevent heat from reaching plants after the thaw. Make sure to remove it at the appropriate time.
3. Cover at Risk Plants
If your main concern is a small number of nights when there might be an early frost, the easiest way to save your plants is covering them up before dusk. What you choose to cover them with is up to you. It could be a tarp, blanket or some kind of cloth. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy.
When you set up the covering, make sure it is not actually touching any of the branches or leaves of the plants. If you need to, set up some stakes or posts to hang the covering over. Also tie it down if you do have significant wind that night so it doesn’t get blown off. Remove the coverings during the day so the plants can receive the appropriate amount of sunshine and fresh air.
4. Water the Plants
While it may seem counter-intuitive, you should water your plants before a frost. In fact, you should water them a bit more than usual. If the soil is wet, it will more easily be able to trap heat. The water will also evaporate and create a heating effect through the rising vapors. While you want to water them somewhat heavily, do not do so near succulents. They don’t like the moisture. Also don’t water soil that has already frozen. It will create more ice.
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