By the end of March we all feel Spring is in the air. Days get longer, warmer weather starts to peak through the cold and snow, and our plants begin to get blooms and start to grow. A late pesky and horrid heavy frost or snow can damage or kill those blooming plants and trees. Roanoke Landscapes would like to give you some helpful hints to help protect your plants.
The warm spring weather followed by a late freeze or even snow can cause your fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and your ornamental flowers to be damaged or die. You can do several things if you are anticipating a freeze.
——-You should water the soil the day of a freeze. Make sure it soaks into the soil at least to a depth of 6 inches. The wet soil allows for the dirt to hold in more heat than the dry soil. This helps to insulate the plants roots. At all costs, try to avoid actually getting the plant wet, as the water can cause the plant to freeze——-
——-You can spread a couple of inches of mulch around your plants. This also holds in more heat and insulates the roots. For your ornamental flowering plants the chopped or shredded bark mulch is recommended. For vegetable gardens the main product used is hay or straw, however, you can use even your dry glass clippings from your yard——-
——-You should cover them overnight with bed sheets, burlap, or light blankets. This acts as another insulator on the inside where the roots are and on the outside where the blooms are located. You can cover the plants with cans or tomato cages around them. You can also use stakes to drape the insulator material so it will not smash any small delicate plants or baby seedlings. Only remove all the coverings the following day after the temperature is above 40 degrees. If it has snowed and is still cold, try and dust off the snow with a broom lightly or shake out the coverings and then replace them until it becomes warm enough to remove them——-
——-You can also place coffee cans or buckets of hot water periodically under the coverings with the plants which helps maintain heat around the plants under the insulated coverings——-
——-Following the freeze there are a few things to check. Check to see if there are any leaves falling from your plants. If there are this could mean that your ground and root system is frozen. Water the plants, the saturation will help thaw the ice. Inspect your plants blooms and buds over the next few days. If you notice the inside is dark brown or black, this generally indicates that your plant is damaged. Watch it closely. Remove any damaged blooms or buds once the all-clear has been given for the late-season frosts. This pruning will stimulate new growth in your plant and if you remove them before all the possible late frosts it can become damaged again——-
——-Remember to bring in any potted plants and planters. These types of plants are extremely susceptible to the frost or freeze since they do not have the underground protection. If the planter is too large to move, wrap a blanket around the pot and also take the above precautions——-
With any luck these preparations will help you avoid any loss of your plants and trees.
Spring has sprung! Happy Planting!
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