How Can You Protect Your Plants From Frost?

Published On: February 16th, 2024|

Plant frost-resistant plants

Using plants suited for your region is the easiest way to prevent frost damage. There are a lot of cold-resistant versions of plants, which are normally sensitive to colder conditions. It is also a good idea to keep plants, which you know are more sensitive, in containers.

Plant in more frost-resistant places

Another effective way to prevent severe damage is to grow your plants in places where they are more resistant to freezing conditions. So, tips which can help to keep your plants alive is to grow them:

  • in unshaded areas facing south,
  • having a wall on the north or west side to absorb and radiate heat,
  • on elevated ground to avoid frost pockets (depressions in the ground where frigid air collects)
  • in less sandy soil, Sand is a bad insulator.

Know your weather

One essential key to prevent severe damage is to be prepared. Knowing your weather can help you to predict colder nights, so you can prepare your plants for the incoming frost. There are a lot of key factors to knowing the weather, like the first and last day of frost, cloud formations, climate zone, and predicting the time frame in which temperatures will dip below 32°F (0°C).

Cover Plants with cloth

Covering plants with cloth will help collect radiating ground heat. The best time to cover plants is right before sunset because most heat has been absorbed by the ground at this point. It is important to extend the cover to the soil and secure it with rocks or other heavy objects. Using old Bed sheets and blankets is a clever idea but you can also buy specic gardening cloth for a reasonable price. Once the frost has thawed, remove the cover to release humid air and prevent plants from breaking dormancy.

Give your plants a hot-water bottle

Warming up some water or stones and adding them under your cloth cover can warm up the surrounding air around plants. The constant heat will help keep plants alive and prevent considerable damage during chilly nights. This method is only recommended as a last resort to bridge a very frosty night.

Build Insulation Barriers or build a Cold frame

This is just a more advanced version of the cloth cover. Construction and Insulation Barrier, which is a small Greenhouse, or a Cold frame will keep your plants warm. You can either buy them at a local nursery or in a DIY style by cutting away the bottom of a plastic bottle or using milk jugs, etc.

Wrap medium-sized trees

If a tree is too big to cover completely with a cloth, wrapping a cloth around the trunk will also help to prevent frost damage. Younger Fruit trees have very thin bark, which will often split in harsh conditions. You can leave the wrap on until winter is over.

Prepare the soil

Soil plays a huge role when it comes to frost damage. Healthy soil will be able to hold a lot of water and is far more insulated than poorer and more sandy soil. Organizing your growing area into a raised bed also helps to avoid frost pockets.

Water Plants

Giving water to your plants shortly before the temperatures dip helps your plants to stay hydrated for a longer time if the soil starts to freeze. A well-watered piece of soil is also more cold-resistant and rarely freezes to a solid block, increasing the time it takes until your plants are in danger.

Bring Plants Indoors

The most simple and successful way to prevent frost damage is to simply take your plants indoors. This works well for container plants.

Use a heat source

Another way to prevent the cold from getting to your plants is by using heat sources like light bulbs or electric heaters. You can easily prevent most damage to your plants by using this simple practice.

Harden off Seedlings

It is a good idea to give your Seedlings some time to acclimate. Seedlings are much more likely to suer damage if you don’t do this. Gradually expose your seedlings to outdoor conditions (place them in a warm spot without too much sun exposure) for about 2-3 weeks before you want to transplant them. Only introduce your Seedlings to outdoor conditions once the temperature reaches about 45°F (10°C)

What to do with plants after frost damage

You might be able to save your plants in less severe cases. This depends on the plant and the extent of damage.

For frost cracks on Trees

Remove torn and loose bark with a knife, afterwards smooth the edges out. The tree will now be able to regenerate itself and might survive.

Potted Plants

Can be moved away from direct sunlight in warmer surroundings, for more sensitive plants moving them indoors is the best option.

Damaged Plants

Do not try to prune damaged parts of the plants. Only cut away the damaged parts once spring comes along or you keep the plants indoors. Completely, prune dead stems, but only the damaged part of live ones. You might need to prune soft-stemmed plants as soon as the temperature rises above 32°F, otherwise, the stems will start rotting, which can cause the whole plant to die. Try to give your damaged plants a surplus of fertilizer and water, as the crops will take a lot to recover from the damage. These steps will get you and your plants ready for the upcoming Winter months.

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