Upcoming hard freeze…what to do?

Jan 5, 2010

We will be experiencing a harder than usual sustained freeze here in DFW tomorrow. Thursday night we're looking at around 15F or lower and 18F Saturday (but could be as low as 14F both nights, depending on the weather channel of choice). Temps are not predicted to rise above freezing during the day. Now, with all the freezes in the 20's we've been having (last night about 25F), you may have already experienced a good bit of damage or loss on tender perennials, annuals and some veggies. Here are a few things you should do today or tomorrow to protect your babies!

1. Water thoroughly today! plants can resist freezing temperatures much better when they are fully turgid. Water stressed plants will take a hard hit. Consider watering herbaceous plants and vegetables with SUPERthrive, a vitamin/hormone supplement for plants.

2. Cover all newly planted annuals, perennials or small shrubs using frost cloth. Cover any tender perennials or cool season vegetable crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce to keep from losing your harvest. While hardy plants and cool season vegetables will typically survive a 15 degree frost, the flower buds and fruit will most often be hardest hit. Cauliflower heads are especially sensitive to freezing temperatures.

3. A sheet of frost cloth will provide about up to 8 degrees of temperature protection. You can layer two sheets to give you extra protection. Purchase landscape staples to help secure the frost cloth in place.

4. Do not use plastic to cover plants. Areas of the plant that come in contact with plastic during a freeze often suffer damage. It's also better to leave some air space above the plant as insulation, rather than pinning the frost cloth tightly down on top of the plants.

5. Fallen leaves or hay can also be used as a cover to insulate more hardy herbaceous plants.

6. You may leave frost cloth on plants for two or three days if freezing temperatures persist, but it's best to at least pull it back to allow enough sunlight to reach plants if warmer temperatures allow for it.

Don't forget to drip and cover all those outdoor faucets too!!

There are 5 comments for this entry

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Alessandra Thor
Jan 05, 2010
1:27 pm

Thanks for your tips.
I’d like to water the sprinklers today like you said, but I am worry that the water pipes are frozen.
What is your opinion?

Leslie Finical Halleck
Jan 05, 2010
3:25 pm

We should be above 36F degrees right now, heading to the 40’s this after noon. So you should be find to water at this point.

Jan 05, 2010
11:39 pm

Wow, didn’t know you guys got temps that low down there! We had a terribly long frost, none of those methods would have done much for the tender babies in my garden, sadly. Same thing last year, plus snow. It’s been a harsh few winters here in Seattle! Hope most if not all of your favorites survived!

Feb 10, 2010
12:24 pm

This post is somewhat related to my question. I was going to start seeding out my turnips, beets, carrots etc but with the impending snow late this week is it better to seed before or after the inclement weather?

Leslie Finical Halleck
Feb 10, 2010
1:40 pm

Hi Collin,
While carrots, beets, turnips, etc. can germinate at low temps, the next couple of days are going to be pretty yucky. The weather this coming Saturday/Sunday is looking pretty good though and I’d say that would be the best time to put out your seeds. Waiting a few more days till the weekend won’t cause you any delay for these crops. I’ll probably be throwing out more seeds myself this weekend.

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