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Tips for protecting your plants from this weekend's freeze

(WDBJ)
Published: May. 7, 2020 at 1:12 PM EDT
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Conditions are coming together for a hard freeze and frost potential this weekend across the region. While it's unseasonable for a cold snap this late in the season, it's not unheard of.

We want you to be aware that Saturday night and Sunday night will bring the threat of near- or below-freezing temperatures, which could damage crops and flowers. So many of you have been spending time at home working outdoors and getting started planting during the recent warmth. The upcoming cold could ruin those efforts.

Much like with any type of weather, elevation, surface reflectivity, soil properties, canopy cover and proximity of structures or plants can all affect heat radiation within your landscape. Therefore, it's always good to be overly cautious then NOT have frost, than to wish you would have prepared more.

Saturday morning will bring near-freezing temperatures. One thing that may help some is that the ground will still be damp from rain earlier in the day. This can help trap some heat. We won't have that luxury Sunday morning when temperatures are expected to be even colder.

Here are a few tips that we have shared in the past when it comes to protecting plants during a late-season cold snap.

COVER PLANTS UP

The easiest way to protect from a freeze is simply by covering plants with a sheet or a blanket. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant. The added warmth may be enough to keep a plant from freezing during a short cold snap.

Never cover a plant with just plastic, as the plastic will damage the plant. Make sure that a cloth barrier is between the plastic and the plant.

WATER THEN COVER EARLY

Before you cover the plants, water them lightly. It’s best to have covers in place before it starts to cool off. This way you retain the heat around the plant. Drape covering loosely to allow for air circulation.

REMOVE COVERS PROMPTLY

Be sure to remove the covers quickly to avoid "cooking" the plants when the sun comes up. Remove the coverings during the day, then put them back on if frost/freeze is expected the next night.

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