Upcoming hard freeze…what to do?

January 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 temperaturesmuch better when they are fully turgid. Water stressed plants will take a hardhit. Consider watering herbaceous plants and vegetables with SUPERthrive, avitamin/hormone supplement for plants.

2. Coverall newly planted annuals, perennials or small shrubs using frost cloth. Coverany tender perennials or cool season vegetable crops, such as broccoli,cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce to keep from losing your harvest. While hardyplants and cool season vegetables will typically survive a 15 degree frost, theflower buds and fruit will most often be hardest hit. Cauliflower heads areespecially sensitive to freezing temperatures.

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

4. Do notuse plastic to cover plants. Areas of the plant that come in contact withplastic during a freeze often suffer damage. It's also better to leave some airspace above the plant as insulation, rather than pinning the frost clothtightly down on top of the plants.

5. Fallenleaves or hay can also be used as a cover to insulate more hardy herbaceousplants.

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

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

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