Protecting Plants during Cold Weather
If the weather suddenly turns cold, tender plants may need special protection to avoid damage from freezing temperatures. There are several ways you can provide winter protection, including mulching, covering plants, or moving them.
MULCHING is one of the best ways to protect plant
roots. Compost, bark mulch, straw, and leaves are commonly used.
Apply up to 2 inches of mulch around plant, but keep
away from the trunk or main stems of trees and shrubs.
Roses and cane berries are the exception; mulch should actually be mounded over
the canes. After danger of frost has passed in spring, pull the
mulching materials away.
COVERING is an effective way to protect the foliage of broadleaf evergreen shrubs from winter
damage. Cover rhododendrons, camellias, and similar shrubs with cloth material (such as burlap,
old blankets, fleece, or Reemay) during extremely
cold weather to shield shrubs from drying winds and sun scald.
or four stakes around the plant to be protected, then wrap material
over the stakes, being careful the cloth doesn’t come in contact
and freeze onto the leaves.
Do not use polyethylene sheeting
because it acts much like a greenhouse, taking plants from nightly lows
to high daily temperature in a relatively short time period. This
rapid temperature change can cause serious freeze damage or may be
fatal to plants.
type of covering should only be left in place during the cold spell.
As soon as the weather moderates or it begins to rain, remove the
covering completely. Leave the stakes, however, in case it gets cold
CONTAINERS: Plants in containers are more likely
to freeze than those in the ground. The easiest way to provide
winter protection for containers is to simply move them into an unheated
garage during a cold spell. Once the weather improves, put them back
outside. Do not leave planted containers inside all winter, unless
you have a greenhouse or sunroom. Clustering your pots along the
foundation of your house together also provides protection
and shelter. If the planted container is too large to move during
cold weather, mulch around the sides of the pot to
keep it from freezing. Simply mound compost or straw up around the
sides of the container, or wrap with bubble wrap or insulation
to protect the root ball. Water container plants if a freeze is expected.
WATERING: For plants located under the eaves of
the house, container gardens, or tall evergreens where the soil is
likely to dry out, check the soil moisture monthly as even in the winter they may need
watering. A dry plant is more easily damaged by the cold.
Winter Protection for Evergreens
Wilt-Stop to prevent evergreen leaves and needles from drying out. It works great on coniferous evergreens like Arborvitae and Alberta
spruce as well as broad-leaf evergreens such as Boxwood or Rhododendrons. Use prior to onset of frigid weather and apply a
second application on a mild day in January or February
(above 45 degrees).
Wilt-Stop also helps preserve your fresh holiday greens because it keeps them from drying out too quickly. Use the convenient ready-to-use bottle to spray on all your Holiday greens.