Protecting Plants from Freeze Damage

While most plants here can withstand quite cold temperatures (assuming they were chosen for the correct planting zone which for us is 7b), very cold temperatures and ice can still damage some plants. If you have plants you are concerned about, there are several things you can try.

1. Plants in pots can obviously be brought indoors.
2. Some home improvement stores or garden centers sell special plant protection cloth which can be draped over the plant. If windy, you may need to secure with bricks or stones. You can also use sheets or blankets over the plant with a layer of plastic over that blanket. If plants are fragile, use stakes or something to hold the blanket off the plant. If the next day is sunny, remember to remove the material from the plant so that condensation and heat do not build up and damage the plant. NEVER cover the plant with just plastic as this will damage the plant. For small plants, you can even use large plastic nursery pots turned upside down with a brick or some weight on top during windy conditions. Again, remember to remove it the next day when the sun comes out, especially if the pot is black.
3. Whatever you use to cover the plant, water the soil (but not the leaves and stems) under the plant prior to the cold event. The water and soil are both warmer than the air temperature so will help produce some heat which will rise.
4. Another idea is to mulch the plant heavily with straw or light weight mulch. If the layer is deep enough, you can even bury milk jugs of hot water under the straw close to the plant. This will particularly help the root system.
5. I’ve even heard of bundling up the plant if possible like a “just purchased Christmas tree” and tie with twine. Then wrap burlap around the plant and place straw down inside and maybe even a jug of warm water.
6. Some of you may have other ideas which you can share.  Feel free to share what has worked for you.

Protecting Plants from Freeze Damage
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