Protecting Your Plants from Frost and Freeze

Cold temperatures are not good for the plants in your garden. Many of them need air temperatures that are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit in order to survive unprotected. While others, such as pine trees and evergreen bushes, might be fine, you’ll have to take some steps to ensure that everything else in your garden (except for your annuals, of course) will survive the winter.

Types of Plants

The first step involves determining which types of plants that you have. This way, you’ll know whether you need to protect them or just let them go. For example, if you have annuals, then they won’t survive the winter. These plants will last for one growing season. Many of them will leave some seeds behind at the end of their life cycles, so they might reappear next year. It all depends on the plant. There are also tropical plants. While many of them will grow in a number of different climates as long as the weather is hot and humid, they won’t last through the first frost. The cold weather is more than they can bear, so they’ll die.

In addition to this, there are perennials. There are two main types of them: root-hardy perennials and full hardy perennials. The first type of these plants has leaves and branches that seem to die in the winter, although their roots are still good. The roots will enter a dormant state and won’t come out of it until the temperatures improve. The other type of perennials – the full hardy ones – go dormant as well. Trees, various plants, and even some types of shrubs fall into this category. These plants will also stay dormant until the weather warms up, although they’ll spring back to life much more quickly.

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Protecting Your Plants

Now that you understand the plants that are in your garden, the next step involves protecting them from the cold temperatures. It all starts with keeping an eye on the weather. As soon as fall hits and the mercury in your thermometer starts to slide downwards, you should move as many of your warm weather-loving and tropical plants indoors as you can. This means that plants like geraniums and petunias should be moved inside. It helps if you already have them housed in small pots in your yard. You’ll also need to dig up any bulbs that won’t survive the winter. For example, dahlia bulbs need to be kept warm and then replanted in the spring.

Next, you need to take the necessary steps to protect the perennials that you can’t move into your home. The night before the first cold snap, give them plenty of water. You want to really soak the ground, as this gives their roots something to insulate them from the cold. Once this is done, get some old bedsheets and wrap them around the roots of the plants. Burlap works just as well. (Just make sure to never use plastic.) This will provide some additional insulation for the roots of the plants. You want to remove them as soon as the temperatures rise above freezing.

Ideally, all of your plants will survive the freezing temperatures that are a major part of winter. However, you need to be prepared to replace some that won’t make it. Sometimes things are out of your control. In addition, if you purchase plants for your garden that are designed for your climate, then you’ll have fewer issues. These plants can either survive the frost and freezing weather, or their seeds will. Either way, you’ll have fewer headaches in the spring when you take a look at your garden.

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