When the water inside a plant freezes, it can cause the plant cells to burst, resulting in irreparable damage. How to protect plants from freezing?
Plants react differently to freezing temperatures:
- Tropical and frost-tender plants: Cannot survive freezing temperatures so they only grow naturally in warmer climates.
- Annual plants: Can’t survive a freeze, but they disperse seeds to replenish their numbers once the weather warms.
- Root-hardy perennials: The foliage is killed back by a freeze, but the roots survive in a dormant state until spring.
- Fully hardy perennials, shrubs, and trees: Enter a dormant state, which decreases vulnerability to freezing temperatures by reducing sap content and conserving water. Spring blooms and early foliage may be damaged by late-spring freezes, but the plants themselves usually recover.
How to Protect Tender Plants from Frost or Freeze Damage
If frost is predicted in your area, you may want to take steps to protect vulnerable plants such as:
- Shrubs can be covered with a blanket to protect them from a late spring frost.
- Bring Indoors: Frost-tender plants in containers should be brought inside during cold weather. Dig up tender bulbs and store them in a cool dry place.
- Water Plants: Water plants thoroughly before a freeze to prevent desiccation and to add insulating water to the soil and plant cells.
- Protect Tender Sprouts: Cover tender plants overnight with an inverted bucket or flower pot, or with a layer of mulch. Be sure to uncover them in the morning when the temperature rises above freezing.
- Cover Shrubs and Trees: Larger plants can be covered with fabric, old bed sheets, burlap, or commercial frost cloths (avoid using plastic). For best results, drape the cover over a frame to keep it from touching the foliage. Fabric covers help to trap heat from the soil, so make sure your cover drapes to the ground. Uncover them in the morning when the
Choose plants that are hardy for your climate zone, or plant tender plants in containers that can be brought indoors. Keep an eye out for winter weeds, like many plants weeds can survive in the cold as well by layin dormant the cold.