Winter is already approaching and as responsible gardeners, it is our duty to protect plants from sudden frost. There are numerous techniques to protect the plants, including winter protection tents, frost protective fleece, and coconut mats.
Delicate plants cannot withstand the extreme frost conditions during winters. As a result, you must take considerable care to protect your garden plants as soon as the weather forecast indicates freezing temperatures overnight.
Prepare for frost by following our advice on how to protect your garden plants and flower beds from freezing cold conditions.
In this post you can learn about
Which Plants Must be Protected from Frost
Not every plant needs frost protection, but winter protection and care is particularly needed for fragile and delicate plants. Here are some examples of such plants,
- Plants in pots, tubs, as well as plants for the balcony.
- Plants that are young, both veggies and new woody plants.
- Frost-sensitive food plants which are harvested for an extended length of time.
- Plants grown in a greenhouse as well as those purchased from a garden center during the autumn or spring season.
- Tropical Indoor Houseplants.
- Fruit trees since late frost might destroy the spring blossoms.
- Fruit trees since late frost might destroy the spring blossoms.
- Rose Flowers beds.
- Because certain grasses are much less hardy than others.
- Plants with a winter hardiness zone of 6 or above.
#Tip: Frost protection strategy should be based on your location’s winter hardiness zone as well as the plant’s winter hardiness grade. Winter hardiness of ornamental plants and other crops is well understood and conveyed by designating the winter hardiness zone. This is a geographical area that has a specific range of climatic conditions that are critical for plant development and survival. Plants with a winter hardiness zone of 6 or above should unquestionably be preserved in our country.
Protecting Plants from Autumn and Winter Frost
Autumn indicates the start of the frost-protection season. Take note of the weather prediction and temps. The first frosts of this season normally occur on bright, windless evenings. At the very least, you should be prepared ahead of time.
Here are some of the important pointers which you can follow to keep your plants safe from winter frosts.
- Plants can sometimes dry out in the winter, so water them regularly until the earth has thawed. Avoid conditions of waterlogging!
- Evergreen shrubs, roses, and heat-loving woody plants should be shielded from extended frost and winter sun. Only use air-permeable materials to cover the plants, like frost protection fleece or jute.
- Winter vegetables would not be harmed by the cold, but you can nevertheless cover them so that you can harvest without difficulty despite the snow.
- When overwintering potted, balcony, as well as tub plants, please remember that overwintering them in temperatures that are too warm will kill most potted plants. As a result, find out what wintering conditions each plant requires.
- Plants in hardiness zones 6 and above must be covered.
- On frost-free days, the soil can be mulched and irrigated to prevent frost drying. Plants suffer from frost dryness because their leaves transpire water but cannot absorb new water due to the frozen ground, causing them to wither. Shallow-rooted plants, such as rhododendrons, are especially vulnerable. This is due to the fact that their roots do not penetrate deep into the soil, where plant-available water can be found.
Pile up or mound the Rose plants.
During the fall-winter season, protect lawns by applying a potassium-fortified fertilizer. Potassium strengthens and hardens your plants in preparation for the cold season.
Organic fall lawn fertilizer with a long-term impact is especially ideal for this purpose. The nutrients must first be degraded in the soil before they can be used by the plants.
As a result, your garden receives nutrients in a gentle and long-term manner over a three-month period, without the need for you to regularly re-fertilize. Perennial plants benefit from fall lawn fertilizers as well, since it helps them cope with dry and cold spells.
Protect Plants from Spring Frost
Plants should be safeguarded from frost till the mid or late spring season because night frosts are possible until then.
- Cover your plants at night until late spring, using frost protection fleece or bark mulch.
- Plants in tubs and pots should not be left outside constantly until mid-May. However, they can be positioned outdoors during the day.
- Preserve the blossoms of fruit trees from late frosts as well; frost protection candles are an excellent way to accomplish this.
- Keep an eye on the weather prediction for the day. If temperatures begin to dip following warmer spells, it is essential to protect the plants from freezing.
#Tip: Even though spring plants are available in the garden stores before the spring season commences, you should wait until after this date to plant the beds or cover the plants from frost.
Frost Protection Strategies and Methods
To safeguard plants from frost, you have numerous alternatives and materials to pick from. Do you realise that snow provides natural frost protection for your plants due to it’s insulating capacity – similar to some of the materials that we will be discussing below.
Winter Shelter Tents or Covers
Frost protection covers or tents are plant shelters made of plastic or thick fabric that can be used to store plants over the winter. Additional heat can be supplied into the tent if it becomes very cold. A plant heater, a frost monitor, or even candles are suitable for this.
Conditionally hardy outdoor potted plants are an excellent location for winter protection tents. They can, however, be employed in the spring for pre-cultivation of immature plants. The tents come in a variety of sizes, are translucent, and could be reused. The drawback is the relatively expensive cost.
Garden Frost Fleece
Anti-Frost fleece for the garden is made of a very light plastic material that is water and air-permeable. Due to the evaporation of soil moisture, a thin layer of ice forms beneath the fleece, preventing heat radiation from the soil. To eliminate plastic, fleece made entirely of sheep’s wool might be utilized. These, however, have a drawback: they biodegrade and may not be reused.
Also, there is thick construction wool, which insulates well and does not tear as easily as the garden fleece. Construction fleece, on the other hand, is not translucent and must be left exposed during the day for plants that require light in the winter.
Fleece is adaptable and it can also be used to protect vegetable crops as well as young plants. The fleece can also be used to insulate more frost-sensitive young woody plants. Wrap the fleece tightly around the woody plant body and tie it securely.
Coconut Coir Mats and Hemp Mats
Coir mats are made using very durable material obtained from the coconut’s outer shell. They are similar to frost protection fleece in that they can be wrapped around plants or containers. Mats made of hemp are advised as a regional substitute. These are more durable than garden fleece, although they are not translucent and typically cost more than frost protective fleece.
Using Spruce or Pine Branches
In the winter, utilize twigs and leaves from pine or spruce trees. They can be wrapped around the rose’s grafting points and tucked in once it’s been bent into a ball shape. This helps to keep the soil warm while also swirling the wind around, making it less abrasive to the plant’s delicate components.
Spruce sticks and leaves can also be used to cover plants and other containers in pots. When it’s flattened on a bed, it’s mostly just for show.
Mulching as Winter Protection
To protect the soil, roots, and other plant survival organs, mulching is highly recommended. Leaves, straw, and bark mulch are common mulches that help keep the soil warm and moist. Organic Pine Bark, for example, is a great bark mulch for preventing soil erosion and siltation.
Carbon is also delivered to the soil in a sustainable manner for the purpose of building humus. Pine tree bark impresses with its extended life expectancy, low heavy metal pollution, and low acidity.
Jute as Frost Protection
Durable natural fabric, Jute is used to manufacture cloth and bags. It’s like winter protection fleece in that it can be worn all winter long. Jute bags can be used to cover plant crowns or to wrap plant pots. Because jute is only minimally permeable to light, evergreens should only be wrapped intermittently during the winter.
Old potato sacks were once used to cover jute sacks as a means of winter protection for roses. In today’s market, you can find jute in a wide range of colors, which may turn your garden into an eye-catching display in the dead of winter.
Anti-Frost Wraps for Plants
Frost protection wraps and covers resemble transparent bubble wrap sheets. The voids between the air chambers act as insulators. Plastic, on the other hand, prevents water and air from exchanging, leading to premature sprouting and increased vulnerability to frost and disease.
Instead of wrapping the cover around the plant, use it to drape the planter. Because in the winter, this must be kept from freezing solid. For short-term protection of plants, such as during spring night frosts, you should use the film and ventilate regularly.
When there’s a chance of a late frost in the spring and blossoms are starting to develop, anti-frost candles are placed near fruit trees. It’s crucial to pay attention to April, especially. Candles should be lit late at night when the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius.
The worst of the cold usually passes around 8 a.m. If one or two anti-freeze candles are placed every 20 square meters, they can raise the temperature by up to 3 degrees Celsius.
Proper Fertilization for Frost-Hardy Plants
When fertilizing in the summer, use potassium instead of nitrogen to make your plants more resilient and winter-proof. This mineral is found in the sap of plants where it raises the salt concentration, lowering the freezing point and enhancing the plant’s resistance to frost damage.
During the winters and spring season, avoid using excessive nitrogen inputs. Because they promote growth, the plant sprouts early and is, therefore, more vulnerable to a second frost.
Ammonium, which is found in nitrogen-rich fertilizers, also interferes with potassium uptake in plants. Many potash fertilizers, on the other hand, contain chloride, which is toxic to many garden plants.
Mounding or Piling Technique
Mound a thick layer of dirt or mulch over perennials and woody plants’ sensitive grafting sites throughout the winter to protect them. This is a critical frost-prevention technique, especially for rose grafting points.
At what Temperatures should Plants be Covered?
It is impossible to provide a broad solution to the question about the temperature at which plants should be covered and protected. This can only be explained in terms of the season as well as the plant’s features.
Plants that are extremely hardy may never require frost protection. Others, on the other hand, are vulnerable to frost damage during fall and spring or only in early spring. Because not all plants are equally cold-hardy, always tailor your frost protection depending on the situation.
#Tip: Plants purchased at a garden center in the spring or fall that are genuinely winter-hardy are sometimes frost-damaged. On the one hand, they usually lack a strong root system and hence dry out as a result of the cold air drawing out moisture from the soil.
Furthermore, the plants have not yet become acclimated to the ambient conditions in the open areas. Because of the heated preculture, they are frequently especially sensitive and should be protected as a precautionary measure.
Some plants in the garden should not be protected against frost. Depending on the individual, it may be worthwhile to relocate them to a more comfortable location for the winter. We’ve got an entire article dedicated to wintering plants so be sure to check it out.