Frost Protection Covers FAQ
What is Frost?
Frost is frozen water that has condensed from water vapor in the air. For frost to occur, surface temperatures must be below freezing (otherwise you would see dew, not frost). Frost forms on plants when they are colder that the dew-point temperature of the surrounding air.
What's the difference between light frost and severe frost?
Frost is rated by how severe the layer of frost is created. The higher the dew-point temperature, the more water is in the air, and the higher the rate of frost accumulation. Light frost will damage smaller plants more than larger, established plants. Severe frost will damage and even kill most plants that are not dormant.
What Are the consequences of Frost?
The lower the temperature, the longer the exposure, and the faster the temperature drops, the greater the damage to the plant. Therefore the heaviest damage from low temperatures generally occurs in late spring, early fall, or any time cold temperatures occur after a warm winter period. Plants experience frost more than other objects because stems, leaves, and buds are very exposed to surrounding air.
What kind of damage can frost do to plants?
Common types of damage include:
- death of dormant flower buds
- dieback of overwintering broad-leaved plants
- frost damage to tender shoots, flowers, and fruits
The effects of temperature vary with plant species, stage of growth, age, general health, and water content. Young, actively growing, flowering, and/or dehydrated plants tend to be most vulnerable. Actively growing foliage is very susceptible to frost damage. If a freeze occurs when there has been no prior cold weather to "harden off" a plant, the damage will be more extensive.
How can I harden my plants to cold?
Don't over protect! Plants are more frost resistant if kept hardened to cold weather. Place those that have been hardened to the cold in cold spots to prevent a premature break of dormancy and early blossoms.
When should I cover my plants?
Cover plants with cloth or paper (not plastic) to insulate. Sheets or blankets provide minimal protection. A properly applied frost cloth can protect plants at temperatures down to 20° F depending on the fabric and the weave. Completely drape the plant from top all the way to the ground (or around container.) Do not allow any openings for warmth to escape. This procedure will trap the heat radiating from the soil and maintain a more humid atmosphere around the plant foliage.
Can I cover my plants with plastic?
Do not use plastic to cover plants. Plastic is a poor insulator and can harm foliage.
When should I take off the Plant Frost Protection Covers?
If you use sheets or blankets, remove the coverings every morning when the temperature under the covering warms to 50° F. Permanently covering plants with sheets or blankets for the duration of the winter can be harmful and is not recommended. Even if the temperature under the drape does not warm up enough to "cook" the plant, it is possible to warm up enough to cause the plant to break dormancy, begin actively growing, and thus become more susceptible to frost damage. Many of the frost cloths available may be left on for extended periods without risk of harming the plant.
Should I water plants to protect them from frost?
Yes, keep plants well watered. Frost injury occurs when ice crystals form on the leaf surface drawing moisture from the leaf tissue. The damage from this dehydration will be less severe if the plant is not already drought-stressed. It is best to keep the moisture level as even as possible.
Should I prune frost damaged plants?
Do not prune or throw away frost-damaged plants until they begin growing in the spring. Pruning might stimulate new growth which would be vulnerable to late frosts. The frost-damaged leaves and stems will continue to help trap warm air within the canopy. In addition, the damage is often not nearly as bad as it initially looked; new growth may come out of tissue that you thought was dead. Only after new growth starts in the spring should you prune out dead wood.
Which one should I use?
Frost Cover Medium - The Medium cover is round in shape. It is perfect for medium size pots or smaller. Use on window boxes and in-ground plants as well. The Medium cover features double-pull drawstrings and cord locks to securely hold the cover in place. The cover is 64" across (from edge to edge) and covers containers up to 14" high. The Medium cover is available in white or green fabric.
Frost Cover Large - The Large cover is round in shape. It is perfect for large pots, barrels, and groupings of pots. Use on in-ground plants and window boxes, as well. The Large cover features double-pull drawstrings and cord locks to securely hold the cover in place. The cover is 84" across (from edge to edge). The Large cover is available in white or green fabric.
Frost Cover Bag - The Bag cover is perfect for hanging baskets. It features handy straps that hold the cover in place on the plant hook. This enables you to use both hands to easily tuck in the whole plant. Double-pull drawstrings and cord locks pull tight to securely hold the cover in place even in the fiercest wind. The Bag is also an excellent cover for shrubs, bushes, tomato cages and other upright plants. The Bag is 55" wide and 48" high.
If you have a question about Plant Frost Protection Covers or any of our other products that is not answered here, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
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