It’s officially winter and many of us are off from work, kicking back, relaxing with some egg nog and sleeping off the holiday meals. But for us gardeners, there is one very important task you can’t skip over during your “off” time.
We are talking about FROST.
A cold hard frost can be devastating to gardens and trees. While some plants can come back and leaf out after the frost season, others may not be as lucky.
Before we get into how to protect plants from frost, let’s learn how to tell if frost is on the way:
1. Still air.
2. No cloud cover.
3. Low humidity.
4. Low temperatures (45 degrees or less by 10pm).
If you notice frost warning signs, do the following to protect plants against frost damage:
Before the frost hits, water plants, but don’t water succulents (a succulent stores water in its tissues and can develop ice crystals, which will damage the plant). Water only enough so soil around the plant is moist. Moist soil holds and releases more heat than dry soil, which creates a more humid environment around the plant.
Move potted or container plants near the walls of your home, where they’ll benefit from radiated heat. If you place in the garage, place near the shared wall to your heated home. You can also move to a closed-in porch, anywhere there may be some heat to spare!
If the plant can not be moved, use frost cloth or sheets. Prop up the fabric in a tent-like structure, so the fabric does not come in contact with the plant. In the morning, remove the cover and allow the plant to breathe and, if it’s sunny, soak up some rays. If frost is predicted for the next night, cover them again and repeat until no more frost (if you have outdoor plants you are afraid of losing, take some cuttings now and root them indoors).
Frost has damaged my plants. How do I treat the plants?
Leave them be. Plants should unthaw naturally and gradually to avoid rupturing plant cells in the leaf tissue. Pruning away the damage can encourage the plant to produce new growth, which will be more frost tender than the older growth. You may also accidentally prune healthy growth, mistaken for frost damaged growth. We suggest you do not prune frost sensitive plants until danger of frost has past.
Need more advice? We have been maintaining landscape throughout San Jose and Santa Clara County for over 35 years and are standing by to assist you! Feel free to contact Bayscape Landscape Management.