Let’s consider two ideas for garden plant frost protection that are neither mechanical, nor traditional.
Tender or frost susceptible plants run the gamut, from those that are history when hit (such as annuals) to tropicals that, depending on how long they’re exposed to cold temperatures, are wounded (or also become history). Wounded plants should be removed once you get a look at them in the spring, when it’s been warm long enough to encourage new growth. It can be hard to part with plants that are an important part of your landscape, but like old sheepherders say: “a sick sheep is a dead sheep!” You’ll save time and money with early replacement.
Perennials that are hardy will go into a dormant state by reducing sap and conserving water. Make no mistake, there is activity in those seemingly dead branches. Give them a gentle bend and if there is no breakage, all is well. Like a toad buried in the mud, the heart still beats, just more slowly.
There are different types of frost. Horfrost, rime, and black frost are just a few frost types. For frost susceptible plants, frost is bad by any name.
There are also different types of freeze, including:
Killing frosts for a given area usually refers to events between the average first and last frost dates.
So how can you prevent your plants from succumbing to a deadly frost?
Mechanical ways of frost protection include watering plants thoroughly before an anticipated freeze. This is done automatically in commercial citrus orchards, whether or not there are wind machines in place. Tender container plants can be brought indoors and a layer of mulch put over susceptible sprouts. Larger shrubs and trees can be covered with any number of commercial frost cloths, old bed sheets, burlap, etc.
Do not use plastic or plastic- lined material. Frameworks can be rigged for draping to keep the drape from touching the foliage. Sturdiness of a frame is key for untoward winds.
A liquid seaweed product can be used to precondition plants to withstand cold temperatures with less chance of frost damage. A seaweed cream made from the whole kelp plant, rather than being a kelp extract, is best.
Toughen up plants with foliar sprays of seaweed (one ounce in one gallon of water). When applying foliar sprays, good coverage is very important. Apply spray until there’s runoff to foliage, limbs, and trunks.
Soil can be exploited to increase heat transference from earth to leaf canopy. Bare soil, even on cool nights (as low as the 20s), will have a surface temperature around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Applying a liquid humic acid product to the soil’s surface around trees and shrubs in anticipation of frosty temperatures will result in a two-way action. The carbon-based humic acid is food, and the black color from the carbon will absorb sunlight, making the soil warmer. Treat the soil with this material (undiluted) to blacken the soil surface evenly.
Soil Source® works to reverse damage and return soils back to their natural, optimum state. This product is a unique, biologically-enhanced humic acid, with a diverse spectrum of naturally occurring, beneficial microorganisms that help rebuild and restore soils. At BioFlora® we utilize a proprietary extraction process, which maximizes the amounts of humic acid we are able to procure. Our product is also comprised of many different characteristics that are not found in other organic acid products, such as soil carbon, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients.
Our Seaweed Creme® is made from the finest source of Ascophyllum nodosum, a type of seaweed that grows in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. From there it is hand-harvested, sun-dried, and homogenized. This differs from most of the seaweed extracts you will find on the store shelf, which use a harmful, chemical-based, high heat extraction method, which diminishes seaweed’s vital content and produces a sub-standard product.
Premium soil amendment for planting trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, ground cover and much more. May be used as a mulch or seed cover. Helps break up clay soil.