How to protect plants and shrubs from frost

Written by stephanie green
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Frosty weather can cause serious damage to tender plants and shrubs. Gardeners can take proactive steps to protect their investments. Don’t let your gardening efforts go in vain. Prepare your plants for frost today and they will likely thrive through chilly temperatures. Fortunately, protecting plants from frost doesn’t require much money, just a little planning.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mulch
  • Old fabric
  • Milk cartons

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  1. 1

    Water plants during the winter months to keep protect the root system. A root system that is protected has a better chance of surviving a marginal frost. Listen closely to local weather reports for anticipated frost and begin watering a day or two before frost is expected. Cover the ground area of a plant with mulch to further protect a root system.

  2. 2

    Cover plants and shrubbery as the next best defence against frost. Avoid incurring unnecessary expenses and use an old towel, some type of cloth, straw or recycle newspaper. The cloth will raise the temperature of the plant or shrub, helping it to endure colder temperatures. Do not use plastic or vinyl to cover a plant or shrub. Plastic does not provide any protection for the plant and actually acts as a greenhouse. Cover individual or small plants with glass jars or milk cartons to help trap heat. Remove the jars or cartons first thing the next morning. Recycle cardboard boxes and use them as a cover to shield smaller plants.

  3. 3

    Bring plants indoors. Check pots for bugs or lizards that may have made a home in your container. Potted plants are particularly susceptible to frost. Wrap potted plants in bubble wrap or burlap if they cannot be brought inside. Shield plants from extremely low temperatures; remember that most plants can endure temperatures as low as -9.44 to -6.66 degrees C. Help your plants and shrubs withstand frost by discontinuing fertilising in early September to avoid new foliage being present on a plant when cold temperatures set in. Older leaves are much more able to withstand frost.

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