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Preparing for a Frost or Freeze

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Even in Houston, TX freezes and frosts are certainly not out of the question and can cause lots of damage to plants here, especially tropical plants like Hibiscus and Plumerias. Here are some tips to help prepare for any harsh winter weather: Keep Plants hydrated: freezing temperatures damage plants by freezing the water inside of them. Keeping the soil and plant watered well can help make sure the plant does not dehydrate. Large trees that cannot be covered easily with frost blanket can be sprayed with water to create an icy barrier of protection.

Cover all susceptible plants: Use frost blankets to give plants a few degrees of protection from the cold as well as a barrier against the wind. Even in nonfreezing temperatures, the harsh wind can cause a lot of damage to plants. The cold wind can burn leaves and dry out the soil. Frost blankets allow light, air, and water through, and do not burn leaves, so it is not necessary to remove them the next morning if there is still another frost expected that night. Do not use plastic: Specially made frost blanket protects from cold temperatures and the wind while still being porous to allow oxygen, water, and light to pass through the barrier to the plant. Plastic will not allow this, and during the day can seriously burn the parts of the plant it is touching. Make sure beds are mulched: Our soil temperature will stay warmer than the air temperature, even during a freeze. Take advantage of this by making sure plant beds are mulched to trap in extra heat and water, all of which will protect the roots during a freeze.

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