With the time change upon us and the days getting longer, there are a lot of reminders that spring is right around the corner. Unfortunately for your outdoor plants, it may still mean a few more chilly nights ahead. Depending on where you live, you may still have to deal with the occasional frost or freeze for at least another month or maybe even longer. This can cause significant problems for many plants and can really set back your landscaping and gardening plans if you wait until the danger of a late season freeze is completely gone before you start to put things out.
Thankfully, there are some easy ways to protect your plants from those last of the season chills. While the specific methods will depend on where you live and the types of plants you have or even how low the temperature can drop, you should be able to find something to give your plants the protection they need. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Protecting Roots and Leaves
You’ve likely seen people covering up plants with sheets and other materials when a frost or freeze is expected, but you might find yourself wondering if that actually works. Turns out, it does. Frost affects the top layer of exposed plant material and soil, so by covering your plant with towels, sheets or even a spare cloth or plastic, you can create a layer of protection between the fragile plant material and the frost. Cloth and plastic bags or other similar items can work as well, just so long as you are careful about not damaging the plants in the process.
Just because you’ve protected the stems and leaves from frost doesn’t mean that your plants are completely safe yet. Low temperatures can also damage roots, especially in times of prolonged cold. Putting mulch, towels, and other materials on the ground around your plants can help to protect against this by adding insulation that will keep the soil a bit warmer for longer. Since freezes typically don’t last too long heading into spring, even a little extra insulation can make a big difference.
Providing Additional Heat
In some cases, you may need to provide additional heat to protect your plants against cool mornings or seasonally cold temperatures. For potted plants this is pretty easy as you can simply bring them inside, or to a place that’s warmer like a closed garage. For in-ground plants, a bit more work is required.
It’s possible to buy or build small greenhouse enclosures that can cover outdoor plants and protect them from low temperatures. These enclosures may be as simple as sheet plastic supported by wire or plastic bottles with the bottoms cut out. Regardless of their construction, heat from the sun will increase the local temperature within the greenhouse unit and give your outdoor plants the little boost of heat that they need to thrive until temperatures start to rise again.
Putting some extra work into planning your landscaping can also go a long way toward protecting your plants from frosts and freezes. Choosing outdoor plants that are hardier against the cold will help to provide protection, and a gradual rollout of new plants that start from the hardier to the less hardy will keep your exterior looking vibrant without adding plants that will suffer in the cold. If you aren’t sure which plants to choose or how to plant for which plants are ready, give us a call. We know local landscaping experts in the area that can help. If you need any sort of landscaping pro, we have you covered as we have made relationships over the years so we can be there for you as your real estate resource for life.