Landscaping experts, like Treescapes, will tell you that your plantings play an important part in your environment for they not only help provide much-needed oxygen through photosynthesis, they provide long-term beauty to your landscape. Throughout the summer you most likely care for them by providing water on hot, dry days and perhaps specific feedings, but what should you do when freezing temperatures are in the forecast? How can you increase the chances of preserving your special plantings in the event of frost?
What causes frost injuries?
Ice crystals can form in plant cells when the temperature goes down significantly, causing frost injuries. Because of the damage, water becomes unavailable to the plant tissues. You can identify frost-damaged plants easily because they will appear water-soaked and then shrivel and eventually turn brown or black. Not all plants are hardy enough to survive frost.
How can I protect my plants when freezing temperatures are in the forecast? This is a question our landscaping experts at Treescapes will be glad to answer, as seen below:
Water your plants before nightfall
Experts recommend you water the surrounding soil thoroughly during the day because wet soil can maintain heat better than dry soil. This helps protect the roots and also warms the surrounding ground air.
Cover the plants before dusk
Landscaping professionals will also advice you to create protective covers using bed sheets, blankets and/or drop cloths for your more vulnerable plants. Stakes can be used to keep the material from touching the plants. Burlap-type bags loosely tied at the base can help larger plants/bushes from damage. Be sure to remove the coverings once temperatures rise the next day so the plants can breathe. Use caution when using plastic or vinyl coverings as they can trap moisture and cause further damage.
Add mulch to your landscape
Not only does mulch help make a garden or landscape look complete, it acts as an excellent insulator, holding in heat and moisture when the temperatures drop. Applying a layer two to three inches thick of shredded pine or bark or even pine straw, can help trap heat.
What do I do if my plants freeze?
If you notice signs of frost damage, resist the temptation to prune the plant or immediately dig it up. It’s important to wait until warmer temperatures and the risk of frost is gone to remove damaged parts. Once you see new growth you can prune.
Part of the list of landscaping tips is for you to also consider raising planting beds to help protect against frost damage and place more cold sensitive plants close to the house or in pots that can be moved inside.
Choose your plants wisely
It’s important to know the high and low temperatures your plants can tolerate and choose ones for your landscape that are suitable for your growing zone. While damage may be minimal for some plants at 32 degrees, delicate plants will die. Be sure to choose species hardy enough for your landscape.
Please give Treescapes a call at 316-733-6388 or drop by our showroom at 1202 N. Andover Road if you have questions about preventing frost damaged plants, or if you need landscaping assistance.