Cold weather can affect plants that are not adapted to thrive in our Sonoma County climate. Many plants we find commonly available such as Citrus, tropicals, succulents and ferns are at risk during periods of freezing weather that typically occurs between November and March. Landscapers are commonly challenged to protect many of these tender plants for our clients often without or partial success.
Following are steps to take to protect plants from frosty nights:
– If temperatures are expected to fall to 32 degrees or lower, water plants lightly in the afternoon or evening before. Wet sols hold more heat than dry ones and will also raise humidity around the plants.
– Pull back mulch away from plant bases so that the ground can radiate any stored heat. Return the mulch once temperatures warm above freezing.
– If possible, move potted plants indoors or at least under the shelter of an overhang or cover
– Cover sensitive plants before the sun sets. This will help capture afternoon heat and keep it in close to the plant. Do not use plastic especially clear plastic.
– Hang Xmas lights the ones that get hot (not LED). The large bulb type work better than mini-lights
– Wrap trunks, branches with rags, towels, blankets or pipe insulation
– Purchase and spray on an anti-desiccant such as Cloud cover or Cloud 9. Remember to reapply after a heavy rain.
– Before purchasing a plant, research its cold tolerance to avoid the issue of freeze damage
– Be aware of your micro-climate. If you see cold sensitive plants thriving in your neighborhood there is a good chance they will thrive in your garden as well. If you don’t see these types of plants you are taking a risk.
If you find that after all of this your plants become frost damaged, do not cut off the dead foliage. Leaving it on helps protect the plant from possible further harm during another freeze event. Remove the damaged areas in Spring after danger of frost has passed.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!