How to Protect Your Outdoor Plants from Frost•
Posted on October 29 2022
Every gardener wants to see their plants grow robust and fruit.
A visit from Jack Frost can damage your precious plants and leave you with wilted lifeless plants and no harvest.
Don't let a cold snap take away the joy of a bountiful harvest this year.
Here are a few ways you can protect your plants from frost.
What Are Frost Dates and Where to Find Them for My Area?
The first thing you need to do is never let frost catch you by surprise because if it does, you will not have time to protect your plants.
You need to know your local frost dates, the average date of the last frost date in spring, or the first frost date in fall or winter.
Related Post: Why Do Frost Dates Matter for Your Garden?
Frost typically occurs when air temperatures reach freezing (32° Fahrenheit/0° Centigrade).
However, a frost can still happen when temperatures are just above freezing point.
Each region has different frost dates, so you must keep up with your local frost dates using weather apps and local weather channels.
Keep in mind that any predictions don't calibrate for microclimates in your property.
How Does Frost Damage Plants?
Frost damage in plants happens at a cellular level. Ice crystals form within plant cells and tissues, damaging them irreparably.
The leaves and new growth are usually the first to bear the brunt of the chill.
If your plants are hit by frost, they will appear wilted and then turn brown, black, and, eventually, crispy.
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Can I Protect My Plants From Frost?
You can take a few steps to ensure your plants are protected from the devastation frost brings in its wake. They include:
- Use the Right Fertilizer
Using fertilizer with low nitrogen and high potassium levels improves your plant's chances of surviving the chill.
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- Bring in Any Potted Plants
Wait till dusk to move your potted plants and other movable plants indoors.
Plants in containers like pots are prone to frost damage because they do not benefit from the insulating powers of the earth's soil.
Related Post: What Should You Plant in a Container Garden?
- Cover Your Plants
There are a few materials you can use as frost covers for plants, including straw, bubble wrap, blankets, bed sheets, and newspaper.
Some people use leaves and other organic materials they can find to provide cover for their crops.
- Plant a Winter Garden
A winter garden will have plants that can survive a frost and still produce.
Related Post: 9 Plants Perfect for Your Indoor Garden
Which Plants Can Survive Frost? (and Which Ones Need Protection?)
Your winter garden can have plants like radishes, carrots, cauliflower, English peas, kale, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and herbs.
Thyme, sage, and oregano are good options.
Plants not planted in the earth, like potted plants, should b protected from frost.
Related Post: The Best Plants for a Fall Garden
What to Do With Frost-Damaged Plants?
If the chill gets to your plants, you can try cutting off the affected parts to encourage new growth.
Only cut plant parts that have not shown signs of life for a few days despite warming.
Any dead plants can be added to compost.
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