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blueberry bush in winter

(image: Rachel James)

It is always nerve-racking when you hear the first frost of the season is upon us. Besides the fact that colder weather will soon be settling in, you drop everything and give into the rush of preparing your plants for survival of their first cold night. Worry no more, now you no longer have to fret about your hard work! The below tips will help you to always be prepared for those frosts.

1. Water

Of course, we all know that watering a plant is crucial to its survival. However, when watering your plants, water the soil, not the leaves or stems. This will not only help the soil retain the heat, but can also help your plant’s roots and lower branches survive.

2. Blanket

If you anticipate a light freeze, tucking in your plants with a sheet or blanket can do the trick. The blanket acts as insulation trapping in the warmth from the ground, helping to protect your plants against the cold.

In the morning, it’s imperative to uncover your plants, as the built-up condensation will freeze if you fail to remove the blanket, which can cause plant damage. If you decide not to cover your plants, know that frost damages tissue in addition to freezing water in a plant, which leads to dehydration and cell wall damage.

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3. Plastic sheet

For added protection, you can place a plastic sheet over your cloth blanket, which helps keep in the warmth. If you do chose this route, make sure that there is cloth between your plants and the plastic or else your plants will become damaged. Just like with covering your plants with a blanket, it’s crucial that you uncover your plants the next morning so that you don’t unintentionally freeze your plants with the condensation that has collected over the night.

winter garden preparation in autumn

4. Wood mulch and hay

For deeper and longer frosts, you can expect that you will lose all or part of your plants with the faith that the roots will survive. To start, heavily mulch the roots of your plants with either wood, mulch, or hay. For added protection, you can place gallon jugs of warm water into the mulch each night to help fight some of the cold that kills roots. Failure to protect the roots will cause the plant to die, making your spring-cleaning filled with digging up dead plants and planting new ones.

5. Barriers

This preventative insulation measure is good if you have enough warning. First, tie up your plants as neatly as possible. Next, drive stakes into the ground all around your plant, making sure the stakes are about the same height. Wrap the stakes with burlap while stuffing in hay or leaves.

When done it will look as if your plants have a surrounding fence. If you are so inclined, you can place gallons of warm water at the base of your burlap fence. As soon as the freeze passes, make sure to remove the covering so that your plants receive sunlight.

There you have it; the above tips will help you and your winter plants survive the inevitable frosts.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.