Whether frost is here to stay or is just playing peekaboo, it is important that you pay attention to the weather forecaster's information. This is the best, rather the only evitable moment, when your efforts could reap benefits. You may be a horticulturist or a foliage hugger; one ought to know that frost could wreak havoc with the health of your plants.
Morning sun is useful to plants as they savor the warmth with essential nutrients. However, the heat stored during the day is lost, as night progresses. The rate at which plants feel parched, is accelerated when faced with a cloud-free night. Clouds provide the much-needed insulation, the cover, courtesy which, the temperature in the soil is maintained.
When the temperature plummets below 32 degree F, the moisture locked up in plants loosens up, resulting in them freezing. However, the weather condition worsening, leading to further drop in temperature, may prove fatal to plant health.
Know, that not all plants are frost-resilient. Survival of the fittest is indeed, the philosophy that works well in this case. A fellow plant lover may, or perhaps, may not be able to tell you which plants fall into this category, nevertheless, a nursery nurturer may guide you with the same.
As plants have their respective degree of tolerance, frost tender plants are weak, and hardy plants survive well during frost. Frost tolerant plants also survive during these extreme conditions, however their appearance suffers a beating. So, a single point of damage, rather hindrance is that plant growth, whether hardy, tolerant or tender, is hampered.
Your garden may be a melange of plants featuring in these categories and it is during frost that they endure damage or even death.
Frost Protection for Your Garden
Frost, especially an untimely one, catches even the most well-versed plant dealers unawares. Majority of the time, it has been observed, that plants die not just due to the chilling conditions but due to the thawing effect.
The fluctuation in their temperature causes the plant to sustain irrevocable damage, that leads to weakening of the roots, resulting in the plants dying. Alternative ways to protect your plants, are explained in this section.
They rise with your crop growing, thereby your plants not feeling claustrophobic inside the covers. Fabric row covers are preferred over plastic sheets or polyethylene as they are lightweight and protect plants from insect infestation and frost. The heavier ones provide better insulation, serving to be the virtual moisture trappers during winter.
Highly suitable for potted plants, cozies retain the moisture and provide the much-required insulation. Fasten it at the posterior portion of the pot for a secure and sturdy hold during adverse weather conditions.
They are effective option to control temperature, keeping the condition warm and bearable for the plant to sustain. It is easy to install and equally easy to remove. Tent, tunnel, barn, bell-shaped cloches lock moisture and prevent the crop from freezing. During heavy frost, it is good to avoid cloches as they may be unable to provide required protection.
The insulation that the mulch provides, helps the roots to retain moisture and avert the damage. Evergreen plants benefit from this trick practiced in winter gardening, where the mulch, spread over the soil, aids the plant in remaining free of frost.
A commercially available fleece, is manufactured with polypropylene fibers that have an innate property to soak in the frost, thereby not allowing the freezing effect to penetrate through, deep into the roots. The fleece shield is constructed in a manner that allows light, water and air to seep through thus allowing the plants to breathe.
Invert a bucket and poke a few holes through its bottom. Placing the bucket over the plant will protect it from heavy winds, however inviting light and retaining insulation for the soil to keep warm through the night.
Pot your Plants
Tender plants must always be potted so that they can be shifted indoor, during frost-filled nights. This will allow them to retain moisture, which will thus prevent drying of shoots and leaves.
Fresh air and light are garnered and appreciated by garden greens and blooms, once the frost threat has lapsed!