It’s officially winter and the holidays, better known to gardeners as vacation time. There’s not much to do in the garden, but there is one important chore to do this week.
- Most of our concern should be in frost protection.
- Move frost-tender potted plants near the walls of your home, where they’ll benefit from radiated heat. You also can settle them in beneath larger, more hardy plants. Moving them near a fence will do no good as the fence has no extra heat to spare.
- If frost is forecast, cover plants that can’t be moved in closer or inside. Frost cloth is preferred, but you can also use sheets. Prop up the fabric so that it doesn’t come in contact with the plant.
- In the morning, remove the cover and allow the plant to breathe and, if it’s sunny, soak up some rays. If frost is predicted that night, cover them again.
- Christmas lights can also help protect plants, but you need the old fashioned type, not the new LED ones, which produce little if any heat. Make sure they are rated for use outdoors.
- Before the frost, make sure the plants are well watered, but don’t water your succulents. The succulent stores water in its tissues and can develop damaging ice crystals.
- If the frost nips your plants, leave them be. Pruning away the damage can encourage the plant to produce new growth, which will be more frost tender than the older growth. Just try to ignore the damage until the spring.
- If covers aren’t your forte, there are spray-on frost protectors that can offer a modicum of protection.
- If you have plants you are afraid of losing, take some cuttings now and root them indoors.
— Joan Morris, Staff
Published at Wed, 21 Dec 2016 18:00:52 +0000