Come winter, the colder temperatures in Florida may warrant changing up your wardrobe and spending more time inside with the windows closed, but there is also the need to consider proper seasonal care for your plants. Whether you have a commercial landscape to care for or have a personal garden that is part of your residential landscape, this article is going to help you protect your delicate plants from wintry weather. There are proper ways how to protect plants from frost in Florida, and we’re here to help.
How To Protect Plants From Frost
1. Before a Freeze
You don’t want to wait until a freeze has already occurred before you head outside and cover plants. This is a problem for several reasons. Once your plants have been exposed without the use of frost cloth, there is likely already damage that has taken place. A plant can be killed by just one exposure to frost or freezing temperatures.
Also, you don’t want to trap any excess moisture or frost underneath the covering you use. This could cause additional damage. It’s always best to keep an eye on the weather and learn how to cover plants long before the frost comes. Most news stations will alert Florida residents when frost is a possibility, so it helps to stay informed. Have your materials ahead of time so you don’t have any trouble finding what you need to cover plants.
Paying attention to the wind chill could spare your plants. There might not be a freeze warning in effect, but very strong winds coupled with low temperatures can create a scenario that can be damaging to plants.
2. Protecting Ground Plants
If you have ground plants that need frost protection, consider the amount of time that they need to be covered. For example, it may be best to cover plants in the evening before temperatures get very low. This allows the plants to get water and direct sunlight during the day. The cover is only necessary for the nighttime hours when there is no sun and it’s freezing outside. Use proper judgment, of course, extreme weather does occasionally happen during daytime hours.
Other areas of the country that see freezing temperatures throughout both the day and night will usually require the use of frost cloth throughout many months. Florida doesn’t always warrant this kind of protection.
The most common ground plants that require frost protection during colder temperatures include delicate annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, small bushes, and young fruit trees. Some more substantial plants may be able to tolerate wind chills or freezing temperatures, but it’s usually best not to chance any damage.
3. How to Cover Plants From Frost
There are a few ways that you can cover up your plants to protect them. The method you use will usually be determined by the size of the area you need to cover as well as the type of risk that exists.
Large Frost Cloths or Sheets
If you have a lot of little plants that need frost protection, you should just attempt to cover the entire area with one piece of material. It wouldn’t be efficient to try and cover each little plant. Drape a special frost cloth made of woven polypropylene or a sheet over your plants, covering up the stems and leaves. You should secure the cloth in place at all of the edges using large rocks or bricks. You don’t want to have any air flow go underneath.
If you have a collection of small pots, you could turn them over and place them over your plants for protection. This is typically a very sturdy option that will protect the plants without having to worry about a cloth blowing away. Trays or row covers are other options.
You should always remove any dead leaves from your plants before they are covered. This prevents any disease from spreading to other areas of the plants.
4. Protecting Hanging and Potted Plants
The great thing about hanging and potted plants are that you have the option of bringing them inside when there is a risk of frost. Just be careful of the conditions that are inside your home. If you feel that your house is too cold as well, you could invest in a heat lamp to keep your plants warm for the time being. Regardless, make sure that you have a place near a window where your plants can still get some sunlight until they’re able to be moved safely outdoors.
If you want to leave your plants outside in their pots and containers, try cutting small pieces of cloth that you can tuck into the pots around the inside edges. You can remove the cloth and replace it as needed.
5. The Day After a Freeze
You can check on your plants regularly, and feel free to remove their frost protection covers once you know that the risk of freeze has subsided. If you leave your plants covered for too long and the temperatures start to rise again, this could cause your plants to be exposed to too high temperatures that would kill them or damage them.
Consider using different materials to protect your plants and their delicate roots. Mulch is not only a great way to make a commercial landscape or residential landscape look nice, but this can also act as an insulated barrier over the top of your soil to keep roots warm for the night. Sometimes a simple border around your garden can have the same frost protection effect.
Frost doesn’t have to be a deadly situation for your plants. Regardless of whether you have plants inside of pots and containers or everything is right inside of the ground, there are steps that you can take to ensure the cold temperatures and wind don’t cause problems. Make sure that you go into action when temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit are predicted. Anything higher shouldn’t warrant coverage.
Some people water, usually agricultural experts, water their plants in the evening to protect their crops when temperatures will be in the 30s, but this can be risky if you’re inexperienced. Need help with your commercial or residential landscape services? Contact Professor Green Thumb today.