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Frost on the way: Protect your plants from the elements

I’m sharing some tips to keep your sprouting and budding plants from the frost

Ice cold! Jacksonville shares frost photos after light freeze in NE Florida
Ice cold! Jacksonville shares frost photos after light freeze in NE Florida (WJXT News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Frost goes great with a tasty malt beverage, not new plants.

With a late season cold front pushing through Thursday and much colder temperatures expected to follow, this could mean a frosty start for some of us living inland on Friday and Saturday.

That’s the last thing you want to hear if your plants are just beginning to sprout or your flowers are starting to bud. So now’s a good time to prepare your new garden for some cold mornings.

Below are a few tips I’ve found helpful, so you might too:

  • If your plants are still spreading roots in pots, then the simple solution is to move them inside for now, or at least closer to your house for added protection. The same goes for hanging baskets.
  • Another tip? Turn on the spigot. Keeping your soil moist can help protect plants from the cold as moist soil has an insulating effect, which radiates heat upward come nightfall. Remember, when watering plants before a cold snap, be sure to do it during the day when temperatures are still somewhat warm.
  • Got much mulch? Just like slipping on your favorite jacket, consider layering your plants with mulch, straw, hay or even leaves. If you don’t have any dropped leaves in your yard, you’re welcome to come get some from mine. Once the temperatures warm, you can remove the covering to let your plants grow.
  • Don’t forget to reduce, reuse and recycle. Old milk jugs and soda bottles can act like a sauna for your chilly plants. It’s called a cloche and you can buy them in glass or plastic. Cover small plants with these and they will stay warm during the day and after dark. If your plants are taller, garbage cans work too.
  • Much like us, plants can benefit from a warm blanket. A frost blanket will allow you to cover many plants at once. You can let them get as much sun as they can during the day and then cover them when temperatures fall. Try to avoid direct contact with the plant and leaves. Rocks, stakes and sand can hold the blanket in place.

I hope these tips help you and your plants shake off the cold this weekend.

About the Author:

The Morning Show forecaster, comic foil, culinary expert, home improvement expert and beer connoisseur.