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March 2012
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Protecting plants when freeze or frost threatens

Most of the time when freezing or frosty temperatures are predicted after an extended warm period, you don’t have to do anything to protect plants.

Yes, there may be some damage, but if leaves are damaged on trees and shrubs, they will likely leaf out a second time. The flowers may be killed, but the shrubs and trees will survive.

Perennials and bulbs also will survive a sudden drop in temperature, but if they are blooming, the flowers could be damaged. It will mean the end of the season for most blooming bulbs, but perennials will likely send up new flowers and leaves once the temperatures rise again.

If you feel like you have to cover plants at night, avoid using plastic, unless it is tented so that it does not touch the plants. Condensation collects under the plastic, which can leave damage where it touches plants when the moisture freezes. Be sure to remove coverings the next morning.

Pansies, snapdragons, stock and wallflowers are cold tolerant and shouldn’t be bothered too much by frosty temps.