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Frost Warning! - Take Heed! - “It’s better to be safe than sorry!”


 

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Frost can affect numerous plants, and it is particularly damaging to tender new growth and blossom in the spring. Newly planted, young plants can be more susceptible to frost damage than fully established specimens.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so remember to check the weather forecasts for frost alerts and take steps to protect your favourite flowers and crops. In particular there is a severe weather warning issued by the Met Office from tonight, 31 Mar 2022 for the next few days.


There are many quick ways to protect your plants from frost, and you can enhance the protection you provide your plants by insulating greenhouses and cold frames. You can use a cloche to protect seedlings, or provide other tender plants with a fleece or hessian wrapping.


 

Here are some easy ways to help reduce the risk of frost damage and protect the plants in your garden.

  • Cover plants with a double layer of horticultural fleece or other suitable protection, like hessian, when a frost is forecast

  • Mulch the root area of conifers, evergreens, tender perennials and tender shrubs with a thick layer of organic matter to prevent the ground becoming frozen

  • Move container grown plants to a sheltered part of your garden in colder weather and consider providing some extra protection by wrapping the pot - bubble wrap works well

  • Leave the previous seasons’ growth on more tender plants until spring, for example Penstemon as this provides valuable frost protection during the winter

  • Tender plants can be lifted or moved to a more sheltered position or ideally, into a greenhouse. Of course, if this is not practical for you, then protect them by wrapping [examples include bananas and tree ferns]

  • Lift tender perennials such as dahlias, cannas, pelargoniums and fuchsias before the first frosts

  • Protect fruit and strawberries from frost by packing with bracken or straw

  • Plants exposed to early morning sun may thaw too rapidly after a frost, causing damage to flowers and young growth. Camellia and magnolia flowers in particular can be ruined by a single frost

  • Plant tender bedding plants out after the danger of frost has passed; this is generally late May in the south of England and June elsewhere. Always harden off plants before planting outside. I do already have these for sale on my web site, but they are sold with the caveat that it's too early for them to go out just yet!

  • Ensure tender plants are overwintered safely in the greenhouse by providing adequate heating or insulation


 

Cold Frame


Young hardy plants, including autumn-sown hardy annuals, hardy shrub cuttings and seed-raised perennials, will benefit from the shelter of a cold frame over winter. Open the lid on warm days to prevent overheating and deter fungal diseases.


 

Cloche


Giving winter crops protection from the worst frost and wind can make all the difference to their survival, and it may even allow small harvests. Use cloches to protect crops such as broad beans, curled parsley, hardy lettuces peas, salad leaves, spinach and Swiss chard. The photo above shows some traditional glass ones, but there are many DIY versions if you google on the internet you can create the same effect using some simple things that you may have laying around at home.


 

Bring Inside


A frost-free greenhouse is invaluable for wide range of plants. Insulate it with bubble wrap to retain heat and bring inside plants such as these: aeoniums, agapanthus, citrus echeverias, pelargoniums and salvias – you could also use a conservatory or porch if you don’t have a greenhouse.


 

Tender Palms


Protect palms by tying in the leaves to protect the growing point. In cold regions this can be loosely packed with straw for extra insulation.


 

Citrus Trees


With their evergreen leaves, fragrant flowers and delicious fruit, citrus, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes are so popular, but as our weather here in the UK gets so cold in Winters, and through the Spring months too, the frost can threaten these tender plants.


When a freeze is predicted, (tonight! 31/3/22) check to see if the soil around your citrus is damp or needs watering; trees that are water-stressed will freeze more quickly. Moist soil will also absorb and hold heat from the sun more effectively than dry soil. Removing mulch from the base of the tree, either temporarily or for the entire winter, will expose the soil to the sun so it can radiate heat back to the plant at night.


Covering citrus—especially young plants—with a shelter during very cold weather helps slow down heat loss, often enough to save the tree. Use fleece or hessian, wrapping the trunk too.


 

I hope this short guide will be useful to you, watch out for more blogs from Mitzi and Maud - please follow us on social media and have browse in our web shop if you are looking for plants and compost for your garden or allotment, we offer free delivery within M25 area for all orders over £50. A link to our web site is below.




www.mitziandmaud.co.uk


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