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Frost is a thin layer of ice formed when water vapor changes from gas to solid as the temperature goes below freezing point.
The parts of the plants get injured when we water them if there are ice crystals on the plants, resulting in disrupted movement of fluids and damage to the plant’s tissues.
Frost can be hard or light; hard frost occurs when the temperature goes 32 degrees F for a few hours, killing the plant’s above-ground parts. On the other hand, light frost is the temperature range that might kill the topmost part of the plant, and the other part remains green. A light frost temperature is b/w 28 – 32 degrees F.
Always keep an eye on the weather forecast while gardening. Some environmental conditions lead to frost. If the air temperature stays below 32 degrees F for a few hours, it ultimately kills tropical houseplants and geraniums.
But there are some veggies like lettuce, carrot, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc., which taste better after a frost.
Some plants are sensitive to frost like
- Edibles – sweet potatoes, cucumber, okra, eggplant, corn peppers, etc.
- Shrubs and trees in spring – cherry, azalea, etc.
- Tender perennials – caladium, elephant ear, dahlia, etc.
- Tender plants – avocados, begonias, etc.
Before the frost, make sure to dig these plants and store them in a cool and dry place. You can also take help from the best arborist consulting services.
Frost protection strategies:
Move the plants indoors
Bring the tender plants, and small container plants are easy to move inside temporarily. A moderate temperature can be maintained for this purpose into mid-30 degrees F. This temperature is enough to protect the plant from frost. It is not necessary to keep the plants in a heated location.
Make use of blankets
You can drape the plants with bedspreads, blankets, and large towels. Make a small insulation dome with the clothes with full cover till the ground. Anchor the fabric to the ground with stones or bricks to save the cover from wind. Best arborist consulting services advise using woven fabric instead of plastic or paper; plastic sheets can be added on the top of the fabric to layer it from occurring precipitation. Also, remove the cover in the mid-day to avoid overheating. There is one frosty forecast per season?
The moisture in the soil will absorb the heat to the soil surface, warm the air as much as 2-3 degrees F around the plants. Cover it with a blanket if cold weather is forecasted to protect the plant.
Cover the plant with a thick layer of mulch such as compost which will help to insulate the plants before the night of low temperatures are forecasted. After the weather is warmed up, remove the compost.
It is a rounded cover like a mini-greenhouse around the tender plants. Take a milk jug cloche by cutting off the bottom of a gallon-size jug and placing the plants over it. Push the bottom of the jug an inch deep in the soil. Keep the jug closed at night to protect, but remove the lid of the cloche at daytime to avoid overheating the plant.
How to protect the plant from frost
Put the pots inside
If the forecast detects a frost, make sure to move the potted plants inside and hang baskets indoors right after dusk. The plants which are in containers are more prone to damage from frost.
The roots of the potted plants get damaged in colder temperatures. Please choose the right place for the plants to save them from sudden changes in the temperature like shed, basement, or garage.
Also, inspect the plants for pests and diseases before bringing them inside the home to avoid the spread of insects in other household plants.
After the risk of frost is passed, place back the plants outside in the morning.
Water the plants in the afternoon
If you moist the soil, this can help them from cold. Moist soil has an insulating effect, which radiates the heat upward when night falls. Water the plants in midday when temperatures are still warm.
Add a thick layer of mulch.
Cover the garden beds with a thick layer of mulch to protect the plants from the changes in the temperature. Mulch creates a barrier to the frost to reach the plant’s root. Leave an inch or two opening in the central stalk to make the warmth travel to the plant.
Cover the plants with a cloche
You can cover the small plants with bell-shaped plastic or glass to protect them from cold weather. Many other things can be used as cloche from the household items like old buckets, flower pots, plastic jugs by cutting their bottoms.
Use these cloches at night only and uncover the plants in the morning to provide the energy and warmth of the sun.
Cover the plants with blankets
To protect the plants from frost, make a dome of the fabrics like a bedspread, blankets, towels, etc. create a tent-like structure. Don’t cinch the fabric around the plant’s stem and drape the material to the soil. The plastic covers should not contact the plant’s foliage, damaging the plant. Please use the stones or bricks to stop the wind as it can blow the fabric away from the plants.
Keep the air moving
When the frost threatens, the farmers or gardeners use large fans that pull cold air up and away, and it also pulls warmer air down to the ground. Low flying helicopters to fly over the crops to flow the air contacts Effective family tree healthcare services.
Both of these solutions don’t work for home gardens. The air movement to ward off frost can be used on a small scale. This will raise the temperature in the garden patch by 2-7 degrees F. in the still nights with no rain forecasted; the electric fans can create an artificial breeze. Try to move the breeze over every plant in the plot.
Wrap the trees
To protect the trees from cold, wrap the trunks with towels, blankets, rags, or pipe insulation. The young trees are more sensitive to frost injuries and may be killed overnight due to frost.
In the growing season, the buds and blossoms of fruit trees lower the growth of getting exposed to frost. Keep wrapping until the lowest branch of the tree is covered. As the temperature reaches 26 degree F for an extended period of time, add a layer of plastic sheets over the wrap to protect the tree from frosting.
The frost damages the plants, but the above majors can save them if a frost is forecasted. Sometimes drastic action is not required after frost damage. The best thing you can do is wait till the weather begins to warm again. After this, you can see new leaves sprout on the trees and plants.
You can take help from Effective family tree healthcare services to make a more frost tolerant garden to plan for your flowers, trees, and crops.
Make sure to cover the edibles. Always plan your garden in spring to avoid planting frost-tender plants in low-lying areas, which creates frost pockets. So make sure to sow the sensitive plants in the higher ground or containers quickly brought inside when cold weather hits.