How to Protect Your Plants from Frost

With some frost in the forecast, here is what the difference between a frost and a freeze is, as well as some tips on how to protect your plants. If you want the forecast, click here.

What is Frost?

As the air temperature approaches freezing, the surface temperature of the plants can dip below freezing, causing ice crystals to form. This often occurs on clear and still nights. Temperatures vary between the surface and just a few feet above the ground, which is why there may often be times when the thermometer reads a temperature above freezing but there is frost on the ground.

What is Freeze?

A freeze is caused by advective cooling. This is when a mass of colder air enters the area from another location, such as the Arctic. When this occurs, it usually is the signal to the end of the growing season.

Now that we know the difference between a frost and a freeze, let’s go over some of the preparations you can take to protect your plants.

Bring the Plants Indoors

Any frost-tender plants in containers should be brought indoors before a frost or freeze. Be sure to dig up tender bulbs and store them in cool and dry locations.

Water Plants

By watering plants thoroughly before a frost or freeze, it will prevent desiccation. Also, add insulating water to the soil and plant cells.

Assess Losses

Some shrubs, trees, and hardy perennials may recover from a late-spring freeze. Although their blooms and fruit may be lost for the year. Once they begin to grow again, you will be able to see remove any damage done to the stems or branches. It’s best to wait until the freezing weather has passed to plant frost-tender plants, because they will not recover.

Practice Prevention

When deciding which plants to choose, take a look at the type of climate they can live in. By planting frost-tender plants, this will allow them to be easily moved for storage when frost or a freeze is expected.

Hope these tips help save your plants!

Thanks for reading

– Meteorology Intern Steven Matregrano



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