Posts Tagged ‘frost’
Old Man Winter really can be a nuisance sometimes. Blowing in, making our hands all dry and our hair all brittle, forcing us to turn up the heat and drag out our winter clothes, and picking on poor defenseless flowers in our garden. Of course, he also brings brilliant fall colors, the relaxing crackle of a cozy fire in the fireplace, the absolute need to make hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, and every kid’s dream….SNOW! So, I can’t say I dislike Old Man Winter entirely. And tho I can’t offer much help with dry hands or brittle hair, I can offer some advice for those poor flowers he’s been picking on.
Frostbitten plants aren’t pretty. Black tips, mushy stems, curled leaves, wilted blooms. Your first instinct is probably to rip them right out the ground, or at the very least trim away the dying parts of the plants. But your mother was right when she said patience was a virtue. Patience is exactly what you need to bring those plants back to life.
So first things first, understand that some plants aren’t meant for cold weather. If you still have begonias or impatiens in your garden for example, you really don’t need to try to save them. They weren’t designed for the cold weather. But if you have perennials, shrubs, or cold weather flowers like pansies and snapdragons, don’t give up on them. They will most likely come back all on their own if you give them the time they need.
Second, resist the urge to prune. Pruning will only lead to new plant growth. New plant growth is tender and fragile. It won’t survive the next frost and will result in even more frost damage to your already ailing plants and shrubs. Don’t fertilize them either. This will also lead to new plant growth. So put the clippers away until around March or April, when the temperature is warmer and the chance of frost has passed. Once you see new growth on the plant, you can fertilize them again.
And thirdly, keep watering your plants. Even tho it looks like the plant is dead, it probably isn’t entirely a goner. So just keep watering your plants just like you always do. And when the weatherman predicts another frost, cover them up just like you always do. Remember woven fabrics provide more protection from frost than sheets of plastic.
Then just sit back and wait for Old Man Winter to take a nap and you will see happy blooms again in no time. We also suggest stocking up on some cocoa and marshmallows as well. It won’t help revive your plants, but it’s guaranteed to help YOU survive the winter…
Old Man Frost just purchased a first class ticket today, and with his bags packed full of ice, snow, freezing temperatures, and the occasional blizzard, he boarded his plane and is now headed our way. Internal Winter Weather Alarms have been reported to be going off in the minds of thousands across the area as they diligently began dragging out coats, scarves, hats, gloves, thermals, fuzzy slippers, ear muffs, space heaters, electric blankets and Snuggies® all in preparation of his arrival. No word yet on just when Old Man Frost’s plane is scheduled to land, but we can officially report that he is definitely in route. The question is, are you ready to meet him??? Better yet, are your flower beds ready to meet him???
Now, I know he sounds scary. Anyone carrying a blizzard in their suitcase has got to be a little scary. But in reality, he’s not quite as terrifying as you might think. And he does actually serve a purpose in that whole ‘world goes ‘round’ scheme of things. Why if Old Man Frost didn’t make an appearance every now and then, those deer you hunters like to hunt probably wouldn’t be moving around quite as much, making it just a bit harder to obtain the legendary 12 point buck you’ve had your eye on all Summer. But before you put on all your camo gear and head out into the woods, take a moment to help your flower beds prepare first.
The most obvious thing you can do to protect your precious blooms from frost is to cover them up. Blankets, old sheets, burlap, even a heavy layer of mulch can keep your flowers snug as a bug when the temperature begins to drop. Some people like to use a sheet of plastic, but woven fabrics will provide more protection than plastic. Of course, whatever heating method you use will have to be removed when the sun reappears to prevent the plants from suffocating.
The least obvious thing you can do is to water them. Yes I said water them. I know it sounds crazy, but watering your flower beds thoroughly a day or two before a heavy frost can actually keep them warmer. Wet soil holds more heat than dry soil. And a plant that might suffer from cold stress doesn’t need the added stress of lack of water too. So grab the hose and douse them. Keep in mind, this is a day or two before the heavy frost, not the day of or the day after. The water needs time to soak in. Water on leaves or blooms during a freeze can cause the plants to suffer freeze damage. You can however give them a light watering in the evening, before the temperature begins to plummet. This will raise the humidity levels and reduce frost damage. Watering before a frost works with fruit trees too. And spraying the actual fruit before a freeze can shield the fruit from freeze damage. After the frost, wait until the sun and temperature comes up before you water them again.
And with those two simple steps, your flower beds are ready for Old Man Frost!!!
So go ahead and put on your camo gear guys and find that legendary deer. Don’t forget your safety orange. And if you see Old Man Frost, tell him we’re ready for him!!!