Freeze Damage Prevention
- Water your plants thoroughly ahead of time. You need to be sure the roots are wet, not just the leaves. Much of freeze damage is from dehydration. Watering before a freeze could make a big difference in your tropicals and tender perennials.
- Cover your tender plants. Remember, you want to be sure the roots are protected, covered, or mulch well. Even if you lose the top growth of these tender plants, if the roots are alive it’ll come back in the spring. Don’t cover with plastic touching the leaves of your plants. If at all possible, use woven frost protection sheets (we like and sell N-Sulate–they can be folded, stored and reused for many years) or sheets and blankets. In a mild freeze or frost, one blanket will probably do for most plants. If it’s a hard freeze (below 30 degrees for any period of time) use a heavy blanket or several layers of sheets. You can even use plastic over that if you want because it won’t be touching the foliage. ALSO, don’t forget to put rocks or something heavy on the edges of your N-Sulate or blanket to be sure the wind doesn’t blow away, exposing the roots of your plant.
- Don’t do any heavy pruning on freeze-damaged plants until late winter when you think all chance of frost is over.
- Remove all of your protective covering if the sun comes out and the temperature goes up, because it can be 32 degrees today and 70 degrees tomorrow.
- Along with protecting your tender plants during the winter, remember it’s not a good idea to fertilize tender tropicals that are exposed to outside temperatures during these cold months. Fertilizing encourages new growth and that new growth is more vulnerable to freezing and near freezing conditions than old growth. It’s ok to fertilize and encourage growth on indoor or greenhoused tropicals although shorter days usually slow down growth no matter how much you fertilize.
If you have any questions about specific plants, please feel free to call us. (281) 474-2488. We want to help!
We recommend covering your plants with DeWitt’s 1.5 oz. N-Sulate. It is a medium weight, permeable, UV treated fabric designed to protect flowering annuals, bedding plants and vegetables from the severe cold and freezing temperatures. This fabric installs easily and is reusable. N-Sulate can lengthen your harvest time and extend your flowering season. Call ahead to make sure we haven’t sold out!