Protecting Plants from the Return of Winter Weather

The Valley, and large parts of the country, have seen unseasonably warm temperatures this winter. As a result, many trees and plants are budding and blooming prematurely. Like spring, these much-enjoyed warm days will be interrupted by some frosty nights. And unfortunately, a dip in temperature will put new growth in jeopardy.

Luckily, protecting plants from cold damage can be accomplished in a variety of quick and easy ways. The key is to have your plants covered during the hours when frost develops. This critical period is from late night to early morning, when moisture on the plants can freeze. A good rule of thumb is to cover plants by 8 p.m. the night before a forecasted frost and uncover them by 8 a.m. the next morning.

Pots and plastic containers – they’re great for protecting plants on frosty nights.

Buckets and plastic plant pots are great for covering tender plants. Simply turn the bucket or container upside down and place it over the plant. (It’s a good idea to put a rock or brick on top of the container to keep it in place.)

Next time you get a large plant or shrub in a black plastic pot, save it. These large containers come in handy for those frosty nights.

Old bed linens – great for covering plants and protecting them from frost.

They’re great for cover use, since they’re lightweight and won’t crush the plant. Place sheets loosely over plants, and use a stone or brick along the edges to keep the sheet from blowing off. (Sheets are also great for draping over blooming shrubs.) Newspaper and burlap work well, too.

Don’t forget to remove your plant protection in the morning when the sun hits.

If a plant is injured by frost, damage will be noticeable within a few days. The plant growth will turn black, drop off or turn into “mush.” Sometimes new growth will reappear after a week or two, but in a lot of cases, you’ll just have to start over.

What are your plans to protects plants from the returning winter weather?

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