Winter is upon us and freezing protection of plants this time of year should be a concern for light snowfall seasons. One day it’s 60° and mild, the next 30°F with snow on the ground. You know what they say about Texas, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around because it will change by tomorrow”.
Frost, freezing and root damage are cause for concern in January. When frost is predicted, you can prepare for it. It’s also a good idea to periodically check the temperature at ground level near your plants to see how cold it is for them and whether or not you need to take precautions.
The primary concern being frost and light snow right now means that there are several things you might want to think about this month.
- If you’re going to cover up your plants before a frost, do so before sunset. If you wait until darkness falls, most of the stored heat in your garden will have dissipated.
- No matter what type of cover you use, make sure that it extends down to the soil on each side.
- Do not leave any openings for warmth to escape. If you can, it’s also helpful to use stakes to keep material, especially plastic, from touching the plant itself.
- In the morning, after frost has thawed, remove covers. Not doing so could cause the plant to come out of dormancy and start growing which makes more susceptible to frost damage in the future.
A few ideas for items you can use to cover plants:
- bed sheets or blankets
- drop cloths
- an inverted flower pot or bucket
- milk jugs with the bottom cut out
- frost cloths (These can protect some plants to temperatures as low as 20°F.)
- garden blankets from your local hardware store
Remember that covers don’t have to be costly to be effective and a little bit of caution goes a long way in protecting your plants against winter weather.