Although it doesn’t happen often, we do sometimes see temperatures drop below freezing here in the Valley of the Sun. Because it is rare, we are not always prepared as we should be to protect things like our landscaping from the freeze. Unfortunately, it only takes one or two freezes to severely damage a plant or even kill it.
There are some specific things you can do to help avoid plant damage when a winter freeze does take place. Here are a few tips:
It’s most people’s understanding that water and freezing cold temperatures don’t mix. However, it is extremely that your plants continue to receive the right amount of water even when temperatures get cold. This is their lifeline to the nutrients and minerals they need to fight off any damage they might receive from a freeze.
Moist soil will actually hold and release more heat than dry soil will. Plants that do not receive enough water are more likely to be damaged by the cold.
We’ve all seen the sheets and blankets spread out over trees and bushes in the early winter mornings. No, the clothes dryer isn’t broken. This is an important step in protecting freeze sensitive plants from the cold weather.
By covering plants, we actually help to capture some of the heat that is being released by the soil around the plants. You can easily use an old sheet or light blanket for this, although there are solutions offered at your local home improvement store such as frost blankets and tents. Do not use plastic to cover plants as it can actually draw the cold in.
It’s better not to leave your plants covered for too long. Leaving them covered up for longer than a few days can hurt your plants because they will not receive the sunlight they need. Coverings also create quite a bit of humidity that can be harmful to your plants.
Protecting From the Bottom
If you have enough warning before a freeze happens, you can also protect your plants by building an insulation barrier around them. Start by driving stakes in around the plant that are as tall as the plant itself. Then wrap burlap around the stakes forming a fence or enclosure for the plant. You can then put hay or leaves inside the fence to add a protective layer. This may only be realistic if you either have a great deal of time or are expecting a deep freeze.
For more tips and ideas on how to protect your plants and vegetation from a freeze, give ABC Scapes a call at 602-404-0568.