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Protecting Your Plants from Frost and Freeze Damage


1. Temperature dropping to 28 degrees is considered a light frost, or light freeze, which usually
affects tender plants such as annuals. It may also damage early blooms and leaves on deciduous shrubs and trees.

2. Temperatures of 25-28 degrees are considered a hard freeze and will most likely affect foliage and blossoms.

3. April 15th is usually our last freeze date. It is best to wait until after this date to plant tender
annuals and vegetable crops.

4. If you have tender plants planted, perennials with tender growth emerging, or trees and shrubs with tender blossoms, such as camellia, you can do one of several things:
  • Water thoroughly before nightfall.
  • Cover plants with old blankets, sheets, burlap or cardboard boxes. Drape loosely so as not
  • to crush plants. Remove covers as soon as the sun comes up.
  • Water plants in pots. Wet soil holds more heat than dry soil.
  • Mulch low tender plants with straw, pines needles, bark or loose leaves.
5. If you are unable to move container plants, where roots are more susceptible to freezing, indoors or under cover, you may wrap the pot in burlap or bubble wrap, or bury the pot in soil in addition to protecting the foliage.

6. If you do get some damage from frost, do not prune your plant until the weather warms up and new growth comes out. Most times the plant will regenerate new leaves, but flowers will probably be lost, as will the fruit that the flower would have produced.

7. If you are worried about losing blooms, such as forsythia and quince, cut some branches and bring them inside for your enjoyment. Otherwise, delay pruning until danger of frost is past.

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