Plants react differently to changing climatic conditions. Temperature changes affect the growth, flowering, and subsequent fruition of plants. Although a measured dose of sunlight is needed to maintain growth and generate energy for metabolic activities, a scorching summer climate can induce sundry damages and stunt plant growth. Also, frigid temperatures below freezing, characterized by melting blocks of ice, can damage your plant.
Frost is a weather condition characterized by freezing temperatures. When atmospheric conditions approach dew points, water vapor in the air cools and condenses into water droplets. You can spot pieces of ice blocks melting and wetting the ground when frosts gather.
Whether light or hard frost, the effects of frost on plants cannot be undermined. Plants react to frosty temperatures in various ways. Some plants can be stunted, damaged, or killed under frost. Young plants are more vulnerable to frost than older and mature plants.
Effects of Frosts on Plants
Most plants are very sensitive to frost, especially young and premature plants. Some examples of frost-sensitive plants are potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, and dahlia. In contrast, plants such as elms, cherry trees, maples, beeches, magnolias, and oaks possess enough depth to withstand low temperatures and frost conditions. However, no plant can escape the overarching effects of frost. Below are some observable effects of frost on plants.
- Frost conditions block plants’ access to sunlight which is necessary for photosynthesis. When this happens, the leaves of the plant will be discolored.
- Frost makes the plant look spongy and floppy as the cold increases. The stems, roots, and branches may even root in the process. This always occurs mainly in fruit and vegetable plants.
- Damages to cells, roots, stems, and leaves, including fruits, are another noticeable feature. Frost is dangerous to plant cells. Damages to plant cell results in stunted growth if the condition persists.
- Frost kills plants. Young plants are most vulnerable. They cannot withstand frost. The leaves and other parts of the plants will flop, wither and die off.
- Frost depletes soil nutrients and makes it difficult for plans to access nutrients for a healthy growth.
8 Ways to Protect Your Plants From Frost
When frost visits, you have to protect your plants from damage, especially young, half-hardy, and tender-looking plants. Some plants have very soft and slender stems, which stick out as they grow. Such category of plants can easily break or be damaged by frost. Also, bananas and palms can be quickly damaged by frost. Continue reading as we take you through proven steps to protecting your plants from frost.
Apply Tent Covers
Tent-like structures covering the plants can also be used to protect your plants from frost. Fleece or wraps can be used for this purpose, which is very effective with bigger and matured farm plants. Peg up the plants. Spread and tighten your wraps or fleece over the plants to prevent them from being blown off. Check the corners to ensure that they are tight. You can also wrap your tree trunks to ward off the effects of frost.
Keep Plants Indoors
Taking your plants indoors against a gathering frost condition is a safe bet to secure them from frost. It is always applicable to potted indoor plants. Taking it indoors protects the plant from sundry cell damage from exposure to ice blocks and a freezing environment.
Your potted plant is more susceptible to frost damage than a garden or farm plant. Conserve them in frost-free environments such as garden rooms, porches, or garages.
Grow And Move Tender Plants To Frost-proof Locations
Tender plants are very susceptible to frost. Locations shelved from frost conditions, such as west or south-facing fences, can shield your half-hardy and tender plants from frost. Plant your fruit, vegetable, and other tender plants in such a location to prevent frost damage.
Apply Leaf Mulch On Garden Beds
Dry mulch derived from dead leaves, straw, or chipped barks can be very effective against frost. They preserve the soil against the adverse effects of ice, which inhibits plant growth. Gather the fallen leaves of your plant, cut them, and gather them in a compost heap or bag. Apply them around your young and tender plants.
Use Cloche to Protect Your Plants from Frost
Small seedlings and other smaller plants on your vegetable patch can be best preserved from frost with cloches. These plastic and glass covers shaped like a bell can be hoisted over your seedlings and other smaller plants.
You can derive your cloche from plastics by cutting it off into bell-shaped figures and using them to cover your plants. Use it to protect your tender vegetable crops such as asparagus, spring onions, beans, scallions, lettuce, onion, or cabbage from frost.
Grow Hardy Plants
Sometimes, you may be unable to Keep an eye over your plant or observe regimented routines to protect your plant from frost. Choosing a hardy plant can save you the stress of constantly monitoring plants against damage.
Growing hardy plants to weather the effect of frost can limit the varieties of plants in your garden, but it is a good choice if you don’t want to be disappointed with many plants ravaged by frost.
Cover Your Plants With Cold Frame
A cold frame is another structure you can use to protect your plant from frost. Ensure proper ventilation when using a cold frame to protect your plants. Cold frames can be bought pre-made or constructed from timber and plastic, but concrete blocks or bricks can also be used.
Your plants can be sheltered from frost when under the cold frame. Cold frames are always used to protect small and medium-sized plants. Giant tree plants cannot be sheltered with a cold frame.
Uproot And Store
You can uproot and store some plants from your garden or farm to protect them from frost even when the plants have bloomed. This is always applicable to some perennials that are tender in nature. The tubers, corms, roots, and bulbs of these perennials can be uprooted and preserved in a frost-proof location such as a greenhouse.
Will A Covered Porch Protect Plants From Frost?
A covered porch will protect your plants from frost, but it is only effective when tackling light frost. There are better alternatives like south or east-facing fences, frost-proof shelters, sunrooms, or garages.
Can You Protect Plants From Frost Without Covers?
Apart from covering your plant, there are good alternatives to protecting your plant from frosts, such as using dry leaves, mulch, and frost-resistant plants.
What Is The Best Frost-proof Material?
You can use various materials as covers for your plant against frost, but comforters can do a great job, including newspapers for small-sized foliage and other simple plants.