Protecting Plants from Jack Frost
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 10:44:25 AM America/Los_Angeles
As we say goodbye to summer, waving solemnly and promising to write, fall approaches. A knock on the door causes us to look out, noticing through the peephole that Jack Frost sits on the porch. We try to act like we arenâ€™t home, turning off the lights and hiding behind the couch, but itâ€™s no use: tis the season for cold weather. For many of us, cold weather isnâ€™t that big of a deal. We have winter coats, we have fire places, and we have furnaces. But, for others, winter weather is highly inconvenient. This is particularly true for people who garden: frost is the enemy of plants. While it can make people cold, or cause momentarily numbness in our extremities, it does much greater damage to our leafy friends: frost is fatal to many types of shrubbery, causing many of us with green thumbs to greet it with one finger. But, donâ€™t freak out just yet. There is no need to yell a passionate â€œNOOOOâ€ and throw yourself over your rose bushes. There are other means to help keep your plants safe, means that wonâ€™t cause your neighbors to point and stare. Know your frost dates: Depending on where you live, frost dates vary. The first frost of the season may come the same time each year, or it may come early, catching you off guard in a surprise attack. For this reason, itâ€™s important to know your frost dates and follow the local weather reports. If you donâ€™t know the frost is coming, you canâ€™t do anything to protect your plants from it. Add much mulch: The benefits of adding mulch to your garden are plentiful. Not only does mulch enhance the gardenâ€™s appearance, but it also provides protection, keeps in moisture, and supplies nutrients to the soil. When it comes to frost, mulch also helps keep plants warm. Mulch traps heat in, keeping a warm blanket over your plants and helping them to fight off the freeze. Cover them up: When youâ€™re cold, you curl up in a blanket to get warm. This same concept can apply to your garden. Using plastic garbage bags, old towels, or any type of cloth or paper as a shield can help keep your plants from being frosted. It is, however, a good idea not to let the covers come into direct contact with the shrubs. Building a makeshift tent by placing covers atop foot high poles is one of your best bets: this will keep heat in without causing the covers to stick to, and ruin, your garden. Get a garden heater: A garden heater is exactly what it sounds like: a heater for your garden. While these are effective, convenient, and easy to use, a certain amount of caution needs to be applied. Not only can some garden heaters be expensive, but fire hazard conscientious people might not be comfortable leaving a heater on, particularly overnight. A garden that catches fire might keep your plants warm, but it ultimately defeats the purpose of trying to protect them in the first place.
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