How To Help Plants Hit By Frost
& Ways To Prepare Plants For Frost Coming
Did you have a warm day and get spring fever and start planting your garden all to have it get hit with frost? We have all done it at least a time or two in our gardening journey. Or maybe you planted at the right time but mother nature just felt the need to toss in one last freeze that you did not see coming? If either of those is something you are dealing with I am going to share some tips on how to help plants hit by frost. I am also going to share some ideas on how you can prepare plants if you know a frost is coming.
Frist lets start with tips and ideas to prepare plants for frost that is coming. Then we can go over how to help plants hit by frost. It is always best to try and prepare as you have a better chance of helping the plant. No, it does not always keep them 100% safe (unless you are moving them indoors) when you prepare but it does at least lessen the damage.
Ways To Prepare Plants For Frost Coming:
If you have planted and then you see the forecast is calling for temps to dip into the low 30’s, there are a few things you can do to prepare your plants. The first thing to do is move any plants that are in easy to move pots indoors. Even if it is in a place such as a shed or a garage with no heat, it will be the best way to keep those plants safe and out of harm’s way.
If you have a raised bed or ground garden and there just is no way of moving them here are a few things you can do.
You can first give the plants a heavy mulching with straw. Put it a few inches deep and make sure it is right up around the base of the plants.
Next, you want to find something you can cover the plants with. You need to make sure they are covered well, however you also want to make sure that none of the plant is touching the cover. Things that work great for this is sheets, drop cloths, plastic sheeting, buckets turned over the plant with a rock on top, plastic jugs cut in half and flipped over the plant and so on. They do even sell things like plant covers that you can use.
After covering, the next morning after it has warmed slightly you do need to make sure to remove the covering. If you do not, it will work against you and burn the plants when the sun starts beating down.
How To Help Plants Hit By Frost:
Sometimes even when you prepare the plants, they still take a hit if it is a hard freeze. Then there are also those times when you just did not know it was coming. However, there are things you can do to help plants hit by frost. It may not always work as it depends how bad and how long the freeze was, but sometimes you can bring them back.
For shrubs and trees, leave the damaged area intact until the weather turns and stays warm. The damaged areas will help protect should another frost hit. After the weather has warmed, you can trim away all dead leaves, stems or branches. To see if a branch is dead, lightly use your fingernail to scratch the bark. If it is green under the bark it is alive. If it is brown then it needs to be cut off. So if you see green, you can leave it and just remove any damaged areas.
Now with more tender plants such as vegetables, it is a little more tricky as they are more vulnerable. Any dead area should be cut off right away as they will rot a lot faster than the wooded plants. After you have removed the damage, give the plant a good watering. You may also want to give it a boost with some organic liquid fertilizer to help speed up the healing process. With these plants, if they get hit a second time, the chances are they will not recover. So if you think there will be more frosts, you may want to uproot them if you can and move them indoors.
What To Do If The Plant Does Not Recover:
If you have plants that just cannot recover, you do not have to toss them out as they can still be used, just in another way. Pull them up, shake off the soil as much as you can, then toss the damaged plant into your compost pile. That way you still get some use out of it at least.
If you found these gardening tips on how to help plants hit by frost helpful, here are a few others to check out.
- How To Get Your Garden Ready
- When to Plant Vegetables
- Tips On How To Vacation Proof Your Garden
- Tips For Growing Summer Squash
- Grow Tomatoes Better With These 6 Tips
- Tips On How To Grow Cucumbers
- 7 Places To Find FREE Gardening Plants