How to Protect Your Plants from Freezing Temperatures
Updated: Sep 12
With warmer days becoming the norm, it is easy to forget to check the forecast to properly anticipate overnight drops in temperature that could prove fatal for your lovely flowering plants and tender greens.
With a few chilly nights in store this week, we are here with a few tips to help you protect all the hard work you have put into starting a crop or beautifying your porch.
Your beautiful hanging flower baskets or the pots on your front porch, full of tender annual flowers, will not fare well if the temperature decides to drop. There are several ways you can help protect them though!
If your pots and planters are near a door, or if you have a shed nearby, the safest bet is to pull them inside for the night. Are you worried about getting dirt and critters indoors, or have a pot that is too heavy to move? Repositioning the pots as near to the house as possible will help shield them from frost, as temperatures nearest the house will remain warmer.
In the case of very cold temperatures and heavier frosts, you might have to take further measures to keep your flowers fresh and alive. Covering your pots or wrapping them with insulation will help keep the cold away. Keep an eye out and brush off any snow or ice that begins to accumulate.
Protecting your garden and all its fresh greens that are beginning to pop through the soil might seem like a more difficult task, but it is possible! We have some recommendations for protecting your garden from frost and freezing temperatures.
Cover your crops with a garden blanket, or a plant cover. Garden blankets are designed to protect plants from light frosts over short periods of time, such as overnight, when temperatures drop. Floating row covers are another great option to protect from frost and windburn. Both options keep snow and ice from coming into direct contact with your plants, increasing the likelihood of them making it through the cold night unscathed. Help your plants out even more by periodically brushing off any snow or ice that begins to accumulate on top of the plant covers.
Another great tip if you can plan ahead, is to avoid watering your plants several days before the expected cold weather. If you are worried about your crop drying out, water early in the day as soon as temperatures have had a chance to rise. This will give your plants as much time as possible to dry out and will avoid their roots becoming frozen in saturated dirt.
A Few Other Tips
Don’t forget to disconnect your garden hose! It might not seem to make that much of a deal, but allowing your hose to stay connected through freezing weather can cause water that is trapped in the hose and in the pipes underneath your house to freeze. Often, these pipes are incapable of handling the pressure of water freezing and expanding, and the pipes are prone to splitting or cracking. This causes a plethora of problems in and of itself. Not only does it compromise your water pressure the next time you go to use your hose, but it also wastes a lot of water. And where is this water going? Most likely underneath your house, seeping down near the foundation, or causing other structural damages that are costly to fix. Also, finding a fix for this damage is not easy either, and often involves getting down and dirty in a tiny crawl space to find and mend the broken piece of pipe. Easily avoid all this hassle simply by disconnecting your hose when freezing temperatures can be expected.
Play it safe and also cover your irrigation system backflow preventer! This will prevent water from freezing and causing damage to the device. With mild spring freezes, simply head to your local home improvement store and pick up some pipeline insulation. Wrap the insulation around the pipes and secure it with some duct tape, leaving room around the valves for easy access. In mild freezes, this will be adequate to keep your backflow device safe from cracks caused by expanding ice.
In the case of heavier freezes, we suggest turning the shut-off valves. In most residential systems, there are two shut-off valves, typically covered in blue rubber and located on either side of the backflow device. Turn the lower valve 90 degrees to shut off water flow into the device. To release the water that is still leftover in the backflow device, loosen the two bleeder valves located just beneath the plastic top of the device with a flat head screwdriver. Once loosened, water will spew out of the valves until all excess water is gone. If the water does not stop after a couple of minutes, check that you fully turned the shut-off valve, as water still may be getting through.
If there are any questions that we have not answered, feel free to reach out through the contact form on our contact page, or give us a call! We will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have!
Domoney, David. "How to protect container plants and pots from winter frost." Accessed 4 May 2020. Retrieved from https://www.daviddomoney.com/how-to-protect-container-plants-and-pots-from-winter-frost/
Rusty. "How to Protect Your Backflow During a Freeze." 4 January 2012. Web. Accessed 4 May 2020. Retrieved from https://www.themasterslawncare.com/blog/how-protect-your-backflow-during-freeze
Valdes, Renee. "5 Ways to Protect Your Garden from Frost and Freeze Damage." Accessed 4 May 2020. Retrieved from http://gardenclub.homedepot.com/protect-garden-frost-freeze-damage/