Instant Payday Loan Lender Instant Payday Loan Lender

Protecting Plants From Extreme Cold

November 3rd, 2012

Dealing with extremely cold weather conditions can bring additional burdens to even the savviest gardeners. While the 2012 fall season has been unusually warm in many parts of the country, El Nino leaves a big question mark as to if the trend will continue. Yet for many of us, very cold weather will strike just as it does every year. If you’re concerned that your beautiful garden may turn limp, blackened, or translucent due to cold weather conditions, this guide can help.

Preventing Plant Damage Before The Extreme Cold:

*Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers, as these just enable plants to create sappy leaf growth that tends to be more susceptible to damage. This process gets particularly bothersome early or late in the year.

*Choose plants that are relatively hardy, and can withstand harsher weather. Some of the best cold tolerant plants are: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chives, lettuce, peas, radish, Swiss chard, and spinach.

*Place tender plants against a wall, and ensure the plant is not east-facing. Moreover, do not place plants in cold pockets, as frost tends to gather in the lowest surface areas.

*Avoid pruning plants during the fall and winter months. When plants are pruned during this time, new growth often takes the brunt of the damage. This practice will help protect the central crown of the plant, and will expose mostly old growth to damage.

Protecting Plants In Extreme Cold: In extreme weather, it’s best practice to use a frost cloth or old blankets combined with Christmas lights. Many have found that the older style, incandescent Christmas lights provide the most heat.  Even a few degrees can make a big difference for your plants. When choosing a blanket, never use plastic – as this material actually increases the probability of frost damage.

For further protection, a Frost Proof insulating spray (used on non-edible plants) can also minimize damage quite effectively. The thin lay of waxy substance reduces the rate of evaporation from your plant’s leaves, which ultimately minimizes frost damage.

Protecting Plants In Snow Conditions:  While frost can do significant damage to plants, snow is different because it acts as an insulator which protects plants from extreme cold and frost. But before you start dreaming of a white Christmas, it’s important to know that snow does bring damage when the weight of a heavy layer causes leaves and branches to break. After snowy weather, remember to gently shake excess snow off the leaves and branches of your plants.

How To Identify Damaged Plants From Extreme Cold: Common symptoms of damaged plants are dead or dormant leaves, fruits and flowers, and dieback of shoots, leaves and stems.  As bad as it may look, no need to panic and immediately prune the damaged areas.  Rather, wait until spring to prune.   Warmth will continue to become trapped inside the damaged canopies and it’s best to leave them alone.  Also, pruning may stimulate new growth, which will ultimately become damaged again in the winter months.  In the spring, you should find that new growth will appear and it will become safe to prune and take out dead wood.

Looking for more ways to protect your plants this winter? Don’t forget to check our guide to: Protecting Plants From Freezing Temperatures.

*Friends, what practices do you use to protect your plants from the extreme cold? 

Be Sociable, Share!

Protect Your Plants From Freezing Temperatures

December 3rd, 2011

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” (cut to record scratching and you frantically running to ensure your plants have survived the cold).  If you do not have a magic wand handy, below are some helpful tips for protecting your plants during these chilly winter months, and repairing plants that have already experienced some damage.   Whether you are knee deep in snow or still strolling in shorts in a warmer winter climate, protecting plants from frost is easy and beneficial in aiding your plants’ growth when temperatures drop.

 Understanding Your Plant’s Responses to Cold

Not every plant responds to the cold in the same way.  Plant species, stage of growth, water content and general health are all factors in how to decide which plants need more protection than others.  Typically, young plants or actively growing plants with flowers are the most sensitive to cold weather.  Dehydrated plants are also very vulnerable to climate changes.  Yet keep in mind that not all cold weather will damage plants.  A mild change of temperature can actually harden the foliage of plants, protecting it from future, more damaging frosts.  However, the colder the weather, the faster the temperature drops and the longer the plants stay out in the cold weather; the more extensive the plant damage.

Preventing Frost Damage

Prevention is paramount to ensure your plants survive colder temperatures.  First, select plants that are the most susceptible to damage.  Keep in mind that most vegetables, especially root vegetables and plants in the cabbage family, do not need to be covered and prefer as much sunlight as possible (except for potatoes).  While young, dehydrated or actively growing plants with flowers should be covered immediately.  Orchids, citrus plants and gardenias tend to be the most sensitive to cold weather.  Therefore, make sure these are covered first, even if you are not expecting a frost.

If plants are in pots, the best way to prevent damage is to move them inside.  Read Your Guide to Indoor and Windowsill Gardening for more information.  If plants are rooted in the ground, use old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and lightly drape them over your plants in the evening.  Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight.  Stones, stakes or bricks can also be used to prevent covers from blowing off.  Keep in mind that to avoid crushing the plant, avoid using heavy blankets or place wire around the plant to balance the weight.  Comforters are not recommended as these can absorb too much moisture, inevitably damaging your plants.

Other great tricks to keep your plants warm is locating your plants on a cement patio, or placing rocks/bricks around the plant.  The sun will heat up these materials, naturally and will keep your plants warmer.  In the evening, placing holiday lights around your plants can also keep more warmth near your plants (bonus: pretty lights are so festive this time of year!).

How To Identify Damaged Plants

Common symptoms of damaged plants are dead or dormant leaves, fruits and flowers, and dieback of shoots, leaves and stems.  As bad as it may look, no need to panic and immediately prune the damaged areas.  Rather, wait until spring to prune.   Warmth will continue to become trapped inside the damaged canopies and it’s best to leave them alone.  Also, pruning may stimulate new growth, which will ultimately become damaged again in the winter months.  In the spring, you should find that new growth will appear and it will become safe to prune and take out dead wood.

What plants do you plan on covering or taking inside this season?

Be Sociable, Share!