For any person who looks forward to a season of chilly temperatures that invite snow, its very likely you are going to have to battle with frost. What is frost, you might ask? Frost is a thin layer of ice that forms when water vapor turns solid as it is exposed to freezing temperatures. Frost will injure plants, causing disruption to the movement of fluids that are essential for keeping the plants alive.
So, if you are a person who can relate to this struggle, here are top tips to help your plants stay alive this wintery season!
Bring Your Plants Inside
When dusk has arrived, move your potted plants and hanging baskets indoors to keep them warm. Potted plants are easy to move and are particularly vulnerable to frost damage. They can receive damage to their roots and leaves and they can’t receive protection from the earth like ground planted plants. There is no need to crank up the heat in your home to accommodate, as too much of a temperature shift will put your plants into shock. A cold basement or garage will do just fine.
Keep Air Flowing
This tip came as a bit of surprise, but it is a tried-and-true method. Place a fan around your plants to keep the air flowing around them. Doing so will cause the cold air to stir up and allow for warmer air to drop down to the ground. This will help support your plant’s health by allowing warmer temperatures to sustain them. While there are outdoor grade fans you can use for outdoor plants, if you are on a tight budget, only use the fan indoors so that your fans don’t get exposed to rain and snow.
Add a Thick Layer of Mulch
When you add a thick layer of mulch, it’s like putting a jacket on your garden. It will protect it from sudden changes in temperature and it will also make your garden look good! You can use mulches like straw or wood chips, you can even use a heap of leaves you gather in your backyard! Aim to add an extra 3-6 inches for the best result.
Wrap ‘Em Up
If you are reading this and you are thinking “geez, I don’t have all this money to dump on my garden”, then look no further to that pile of grandma’s old pile of crocheted blankets! Don’t have blankets? You definitely have dirty old towels, so use them! You can protect a larger group of plants with these covers by making a make-shift tent. Use a couple of stakes and a rope and you will be good to go.
You don’t have to do this with mature trees that are used to the cold, but for younger trees or fruit trees, wrap the tree trunks with towels, blankets, or cardboard for insulation. Young or foreign trees may not have the chops to withstand harsh temperatures and can be easily damaged or killed by the cold. When you wrap your trees, be sure to secure the wrapping with weather proof twine or tape.
If you have smaller plants, using a cloche is a good way to go. A cloche is a bell-shaped cover made from plastic or glass that helps keep your plants warm in cold temperatures. Cloches are reusable and you can easily make your own if you don’t want to make a purchase. Simply use a bucket or a pot and flip it upside down and voila! You’ve got yourself a cloche!
Winter is a time to hunker down and wait out the tough season ahead. Not only will you and your family have to work together to prepare for this harsh season, but your plants will need your help too. Make sure you prepare and cover all your bases before the snow comes and keep an eye on the weather forecast so that you make act accordingly.