Eight easy methods to ‘protect’ your garden plants from frost

Gardening: Expert advises on growing climbing plants

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The gardening experts from Toolstation said: “With below freezing temperatures and widespread hard overnight frost expected this week, gardeners must act now to protect their plants.” Being prepared for first could be the difference between “life or death” when it comes to plants, which is why it is so important to protect outdoor plants as early as possible.

The experts explained: “Frost occurs when temperatures fall below 0°C and the water vapour in the air freezes. This results in the formation of tiny, sparkling ice crystals around your plants. 

“Although incredibly pretty, frost can damage and even kill plants. Frost causes the water inside plant cells to expand, breaking the cell walls and affecting the plant’s ability to transport vital nutrients.

“With below freezing temperatures and widespread hard overnight frost expected this week, gardeners must act now to protect their plants.

“When you’re considering new plant species, always research the hardiness rating. This tells you the sorts of cold temperatures the plant is able to tolerate. If the plant has a tag or label, this will usually be listed. If not, Google is your friend.

“In general, young seedlings, new growth, tender perennials, half-hard varieties and tropical or subtropical plants are most susceptible to frost – and may need protection to survive the winter nights.”

1. Choose the right plants for your garden

Unfortunately, some plants just won’t be suited to the climate of your garden, and it is so easy to forget about this when buying them in the summer.

If you do buy plants during the spring and summer months, it is advised to check their hardiness to save the disappointment when they don’t make it through winter.

2. Bring pots indoors

The pros explained: “Of course, the best way to protect tender plants like young seedlings and tender perennials is by moving them inside – away from the elements. 

DON’T MISS:
Households urged to take steps to ‘prevent’ frozen pipes this winter [EXPERT]
‘Quick’ process to fix a radiator cold at the bottom [COMMENT]
‘Low maintenance’ houseplants to ‘prevent’ mould [EXPLAINER]

“It’s easy to do this with potted plants which can be moved into a conservatory, garage, porch or greenhouse. This has the added benefit of preventing the pot itself from splitting.

“That said, be cautious of moving plants into heated spaces like kitchens, as the warm temperature may be too much of a shock. And, although it’s a bit of a hassle, if possible, move the pots back outside during daylight hours so they can absorb the sun they need.”

3. Move pots together

If a plant is too big to move inside, and you simply don’t have the room to home it all winter, the next best option is to group several potted plants together.

According to the experts, the grouped plants will have a greater thermal mass and help each other stay warm. They added: “Also look to group the pots in a sheltered area such as in front of a wall, particularly on the southern or western side of the house. This will help to protect them from frost.”

4. Cover plants

If some pots are too heavy to move, it may be a good idea to cover them to help protect them from the frost overnight. Horticultural fleece and plant covers can be purchased from garden centres.

However, it is also possible to improvise with some household items such as plastic bottles, wicker baskets and even newspapers.

5. Water plants in the morning

The gardening experts explained: “If you’re concerned about frost and are expecting a dry day, you can also try watering your plants in the morning. Wet soil absorbs heat throughout the day. When the temperature falls at night, this has an insulating effect, protecting your plants.”

6. Ensure good drainage

Although damp soil can be insulating, overly wet soil can make it easy for shallow-rooted trees and baby plants to be “uprooted” by the wind. Because of this, it is extremely important to deal with drainage issues promptly.

The experts noted: “Standing pots on old bricks or pot feet is a good idea to avoid leaving your plants sitting in icy water. In fact, my top tip is to save old wine corks. These can be reused for this purpose.”

7. Apply a layer of straw or chippings

For borderline-hardy plants, applying a layer of dry mulch made from straw or bark chipping is often the best option to protect the plants from frost. The experts said this creates a barrier of protection against the cold temperatures.

8. Grow hedges to hold wind

The gardening professionals continued: “As well as having lots of benefits for wildlife, hardy hedge varieties such as yew, laurel and red robin act as windbreakers, preventing cold winds from sweeping through the garden and eliminating wind chill factor.”

Source: Read Full Article