There is a great variety of plants that are sensitive to frost and low temperatures. Therefore, we must protect them during the winter if we want them to survive. Frost causes dehydration in plants since the roots are not able to absorb the necessary water.
How to protect plants from frost?
To avoid all this, below we show you how to protect plants from frost:
1. Reduce watering as much as possible
However, it may seem counterproductive when the coldest season of the year arrives the water freezes below the surface, which can seriously affect the roots. Experts consider that this internal effect is much more damaging than the external frosts that affect the stem and leaves. Therefore, it is best to reduce watering from late summer to winter.
2. Group your plants
The ideal is to gather all the plants and place them next to a wall and facing south to protect them from the cold. As a collateral advantage, making a corner full of plants will make that area of the house special, not to mention that you will save time watering by not moving around all the space there is.
3. Cover the plants
In the case of a mild frost, you can protect your plants by placing a sheet over them. This fabric will act as an insulator, keeping the warm air from the earth around your plants. This heat can be enough to keep your plants safe during the drop in temperatures.
However, if the frost is more intense, you can place a plastic sheet over the sheet to keep the heat even more. In the morning, after passing the night cold wave, proceed to remove the sheet and/or the plastic to prevent the plants from suffocating.
4. Create a protective cover
Many experts prefer to create a protective cover to protect plants from frost. This consists simply of placing a mulch on the ground.
The materials you can use are straw, hay, pine needles, tree bark, and stacked leaves. With this, you will be able to retain moisture and keep the substrate much warmer. In this way, you will avoid freezing the roots of the plants.
5. Use external heat sources
During extremely cold nights, you can help the plants with an extra source of heat. Cover them with a sheet and plastic wrap, and place a heat source inside.
This heat source and that we all have at home can be Christmas lights or a 100 watt light bulb. However, you must pay close attention to increase the temperature so as not to damage them. During the day, turn off the heat source and take out the plastic or blanket.
Extra tips to protect plants from frost
When the cold arrives, not only people need to protect themselves. To ensure that your plants and trees survive low temperatures, it may be necessary to cover them just like we do ourselves.
1. Add mulch
As the soil freezes and melts, it can expose some soil’s surface roots, making them even more vulnerable. Mulch helps provide a layer of protection to the roots of the plant in these cases.
2. Cover trees and plants
Wrap their trunks with cardboard, blankets, or cloth. Otherwise, as the crust expands when the temperature is warm and contracts when it cools, it is likely to break. You can also use plastic to cover trees and plants, but make sure it is black to reflect and does not have a greenhouse effect on the trunk.
If you will cover your plants before a hard frost, it is best to do it before dark. Most of the heat stored in the garden will have dissipated.
Make sure it extends to the ground on each side. Do not leave any openings so that the heat does not escape. Stakes are also recommended to prevent the protective material from coming into contact with the foliage. Place the protector over the plant, preventing it from sticking to the trunk. Thus the heat that radiates from the soil will reach the plant.
3. Wet the floor
Water the soil thoroughly (except around succulents). It protects roots and warms the air near the ground. This prevents the roots of the plant from freezing. During the night, moist soil will release moisture into the air, which will raise the temperature and keep the plants warmer.
It is recommended that you keep the most delicate plants in pots so that you can take them to a sheltered place when the temperatures drop.
4. Harden the seedlings
Before planting the seedlings, you can acclimate them outdoors by gradually exposing them to outside conditions. This process is known as hardening, and it can help you grow stronger plants that are more likely to withstand inclement weather.
The hardening process should begin about 14 days before transplantation. When the weather is mild and above 7 ° C, place the seedlings outside during the day in a warm, shady place protected from the wind. At night, take them back inside.
WHAT TO DO IF MY PLANTS HAVE FROST DAMAGE?
Just because you see that your plants have been damaged by frost does not necessarily mean that you should take drastic measures. Many plants are surprisingly very hardy and are likely to sprout again in spring. So the best option is to wait until the temperatures start to rise again (usually around March) and see if new leaves sprout.