How to Protect your Plants from Frost

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Dec 15

Having spent a year looking after our gardens and plants, it can be sad to see them go in winter.

This year, don't let the harsh winter weather destroy all your hard work.   

One of the factors that can be most damaging to plants is frost.

How so? As we know, frost is formed when water vapour turns into solid form due to low temperatures, two items we have plenty of during winter in Ireland. When it settles on plant surfaces, plant cell water turns into ice crystals, disrupting critical processes, such as fluid movement. Therefore, as a cautious individual, once you get a frost warning from your local weatherman, you should take extra care of your plants.

Here are some of the best ways to do so: 

  1. Water your plants- Moist soil is more likely to retain heat than dry soil. Hence, you should water your plants moderately, after which the soil will radiate the heat upwards, which in turn helps defrost the plant. However, it would help if you were careful when watering succulents since these plants are known to take up a lot of water. Excessive water will burst the plant stalk when it freezes up, so as with everything, moderation is key.
  2. Bring potted plants inside- This one is pretty straightforward. It’s safer to have your plants inside the house to regulate the temperatures with much more ease. Wait until the sun is going in until you take the plants inside. Be sure to put them in a place that isn’t too different, as a rapid change in environment can be detrimental to your plants. 
  3. Cover potted plants with mulch- It’s like wearing a coat in cold temperatures. Plants need this coat or 'mulch' to protect them from freezing. Dried leaves or wood chips will do simply fine. This helps retain the much-needed heat for the plant. However, don’t cover up the entire surface. Leave a small opening towards the stalk to allow heat radiation. You can get quality mulch and other supplies from Millers. Talk to our friendly staff about your winter plans and we can come up with some quality recommendations for your garden projects.
  4. Cover your plants with a blanket- This technique is far more practical when you have many plants. All you need to do is get a blanket or a sheet of cloth and cover them. Get some stakes and place them at the edge to create a tent-like structure. Now your only problem is explaining to your friend and family what you are up to!
  5. Use Cloches- While the previous technique was far more suited to large groups of plants, cloches are designed for smaller individual plants. A cloche is a bell-shaped covering made from plastic or wood. It protects plants by doing the same thing all other techniques do, retaining heat. You can purchase them or make them yourself. All the same, provided you install them correctly, your plant should do simply fine. For those with a DIY attitude, you can find the best hand tools for the job in Millers.

We hope these few tips and ideas help your garden plants survive the winter. You can check out some of our other posts on ways to protect your tools and the best treatments for your garden throughout the year. 

Get in touch with Millers for any of your garden or hardware needs and we will be happy to provide you with any help we can.

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