Protecting Plants From Frost Damage -
Get your garden well through the winter with adequate frost protection
for plants. These winter garden tips will help you to prepare your
garden for the cold season.
Depending on your climate zone October and November are the months to
get your garden ready for winter. One winter garden chore is to make sure that your plants will get through the cold safely.
Preparing the garden for the winter is well worth while and protecting tender plants will help them to get through the frost without damage.
Thinking about winter garden care and frost protection
in time will make sure that you don't loose your favorite plants.
Particularly very early or late unexpected frost do a lot of damage
because the plants are not ready for the cold weather yet or have
started to grow already. Frost protection for plants with a frost fleece
or light blankets can prevent this damage.
Keep an eye on the weather and watch out for clear nights with no cloud
cover and no wind. This weather situation does the most damage.
How does frost damage the plants?
Temperatures below 0 degrees C/32 degrees F can cause the formation of
ice crystals in the plant tissue. This will cause the plant cells to
burst and die.
If this only happens to some soft leaves you will just end up with some
burnt and brown looking leaves or dead flower buds and the plant will
For tender plants with a high water content in the cells like some
succulents this is a killer. It turns all the plant tissue into mush and
usually dies. The damage is often only recognized weeks later as the
plant looks perfectly fine while the foliage is frozen. Once spring
comes and the
leaves thaw and dry you will see the damage that has been done! But of
course it is too late to do something about it then.
Protecting Plants From Frost By Choosing The Right Location
Avoid frost tender plants. Always check hardiness of the plant. Grow frost tender plants in containers and over-winter them in a glass house or
Where to plant the more delicate plants:
Gardens always have warmer and colder areas. For example, if you have a
sloped garden it is always coldest on the lowest parts because the cold
down the hill and accumulates in frost pockets at the bottom of the
This happens particularly on cold, clear nights with no clouds and no
Avoid planting tender plants into those frost pockets. They would be
better off near the top or middle of the slope where the air moves.
Planting near south or west facing wall will also help to
protect the more tender plants from frost damage. Temperatures in these
zones stay a bit
higher and the ground does not freeze quite as much. The wall also
stores some heat as do big stones or boulders, even if it only seems
little but it can
make all the difference on a cold night.
Avoid feeding your plants with a high nitrogen fertilizer in the autumn. This will push soft growth that is much more prone to get damaged by
frost. A potash fertilizer in the autumn can help to ripen and harden the plant tissue.
If you pay attention to the weather forecast you can protect tender
plants with light sheets, newspapers or blankets if necessary. This is
only a temporary measure though for a cold night or two. The sheets
don't allow light or air to get near the plant. Therefore they have to
come off during the day.
can be used to cover plants for a longer period as it
allows light and air near the plants. You have to peg and tie it down
carefully to avoid it blowing away or doing damage to the plants.
For valuable and precious plants it might be worth it to build a
little cage that you can cover with the fleece. Don't just tie the
fleece around the
Instead let it cover the ground around the plants so you get the benefit
of the radiating heat from the ground.
Also keep in mind that younger plants are much more prone to frost
damage than more mature ones. These are the ones you have to be more
in a cold winter. Protect these more vulnerable plants with fleece to
Young plants and seedlings can be protected from frost by water
bottles and plastic containers. It also gives them protection from wind.
A great way to
harden off plants in the spring and if you are expecting late frosts in