Protect Your Plants From Frost

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A frost warning is in effect for many parts of North Carolina this week. You may have already started planting for spring, or be concerned about some of the plants that have started growing in your yard.

Watch this video for tips on protecting your plants from spring frosts:

Here are some tips for dealing with frost.

  • Know which plants in your yard are susceptible to frost. Usually, the new growth on plants is most susceptible to frost damage. New leaves, flowers, and buds are most likely to get damaged. Any plant in a container is also more likely to be damaged by the cold, so consider moving them indoors overnight.
  • Know the microclimates in your yard. Frost tends to settle in low-lying areas or shadier parts of your yard. Try to avoid placing sensitive plants here early in the season.
  • Take proper care of your plants in preparation. Avoid pruning in the early springtime when plants are first breaking dormancy but there is still a chance of a frost. Pruning encourages the plant to produce new growth, which as you just learned is sensitive to frost damage.

If we are expecting a frost, here are some short-term solutions.

  • Water your plants. Adding water to the root area will insulate the plant. This can help to prevent frost damage.
  • Cover your plants. Many people use row covers for this purpose, but an old bed sheet is also acceptable. After the sun rises and the day warms up, be sure to remove any coverings on your plants.

Watch your plants after the frost for any damage. It is a good idea to wait to remove the frost damage, as those branches may still be alive. A healthy shrub will recover with new growth in a few weeks time. Resist the urge to remove the damage right away, so you give your plant a chance to continue growing.

Leaves with frost