nedeľa, 3 decembra, 2023
HomeHomeHow We Protected Our Vegetation From Freezing Temperatures

How We Protected Our Vegetation From Freezing Temperatures

Final month’s arctic blast introduced surprisingly frigid temperatures to Florida. We had three consecutive nights with temperatures within the low 20s – and an final low of round 18 levels! Lots of our outside crops aren’t constructed for that sort of freezing climate (within the 3 winters we’ve spent right here we are able to keep in mind one different low of about 32-degrees, however issues went proper again as much as our extra regular lows of round 45 levels inside a number of hours). They’re calling our latest deep freeze a “once-in-a-century occasion” right here in Florida. In different phrases: the last word take a look at. So listed here are the steps we took to guard our crops, together with a number of issues that labored higher than others.

Lush Tropical Landscaping In Florida Home

It needs to be mentioned that there are undoubtedly greater issues to fret about throughout excessive chilly climate occasions – like defending folks, pets, and pipes. However you’ll usually see crops because the 4th “P” on that checklist of issues to examine on in freezing climate. And since we’ve spent a very good quantity of money and time on our landscaping, we figured it was well worth the effort to guard what we may, particularly if some up-front effort may save us the money and time of replanting issues that may in any other case die and not using a little assist.

Tip 1: Determine Vegetation Weak To Freezing

To prioritize your efforts, attempt to be taught which crops are the least able to surviving in your forecasted temperatures. Presumably, most of them are designed to outlive in your rising zone (discover your zone right here). Nonetheless, which may not be sufficient info if the climate is predicted to be abnormally chilly – particularly for 3-4 days in a row. Going into this “arduous freeze” we googled “chilly tolerance” or “chilly hardiness” together with the identify of every plant we had outdoors.* It’s an awesome place to begin for studying which crops we must always give attention to, and which might hopefully be simply nice. For instance, we discovered that our noticed palmettos wouldn’t want our assist, however our foxtail ferns may.

Google Search Result Page Of Cold Hardiness For Tropical Plants

*NOTE: Should you don’t know the identify of your plant, your iPhone digital camera will help (without spending a dime!) or strive an app like PictureThis.

Tip 2: Carry Vegetation Inside, If Attainable

The surest strategy to preserve your crops from getting too chilly is to convey them inside the place it’s heat. In fact, that is simpler mentioned than achieved. Many crops is likely to be dug within the floor, too heavy to maneuver, and/or too large to suit indoors. However issues like small-to-medium pots or hanging planters are good candidates for transporting inside. You’ll need to be the choose of what’s affordable in your residence.

As you’ll see in these footage, we’ve A LOT of potted crops outdoors. Some may name us loopy for bringing so many inside – particularly contemplating we’ve bought a small residence and this freeze was occurring whereas we had been celebrating Christmas. However we laid out some tarps by a few lesser-used doorways and crammed as many pots as we may onto them. The tarps protected the flooring from dust and any residual water within the soil (keep in mind that outside pots have drainage holes on the underside). It was barely inconvenient for a number of days, however this turned out to be the one methodology that had a 100% success charge.

Collection of outdoor plants stored in upstairs family room during Florida cold weather

couch / bookshelves / comparable woven stools / comparable mirror / lumbar pillows

By bringing so many pots inside, we most likely saved over $500 in crops that we would’ve needed to substitute in any other case. It was undoubtedly price it. Even when it did imply breaking out a dolly to pull our large fiddle leaf fig off the entrance porch and into the kitchen! It really doesn’t look half dangerous in right here… apart from the truth that it made moving into the laundry closet kinda tight.

Large potted fig tree brought inside during cold weather

If bringing your crops indoors to your heated house isn’t potential, even relocating them right into a protected space like a storage, basement, or attic could possibly be sufficient to maintain them alive. Potted crops are particularly weak to chilly as a result of their soil is much less insulated than these dug into the bottom. And getting them out of the wind helps to reduce warmth loss.

Tip 3: Add Pine Straw Or Mulch

For crops staying outdoors, your fundamental technique helps them keep as heat as potential. One method is so as to add a layer of recent mulch to your plant beds, particularly across the bases of your crops. Mulch really helps entice air round your crops – notably when utilizing a light-weight materials like straw or pine straw – which insulates them in opposition to dramatic drops in temperature. It will possibly additionally assist retain moisture and, surprisingly, moist soil really retains extra warmth than dry soil.

Close Up Of Pine Mulch Under Plant

Mulching does require a little bit of time, effort, cash, and planning. Fortunately, we already had plans so as to add recent pine straw to our yard as a result of we had friends visiting for the vacations. We wished the clear look of freshly mulched beds and the chilly safety was a pleasant bonus! It’s additionally an awesome tip to water your entire freshly mulched crops earlier than the chilly. As I mentioned above, we had been shocked to listen to that as a tip from a variety of native backyard facilities – however moist soil retains extra warmth than dry soil. So sprinkle away.

Tip 4: Cowl Vegetation With Breathable Material

Should you’ve ever seen somebody throw a blanket, towel, or sheet over their crops, that’s one other common strategy to attempt to preserve some warmth round your crops. The quilt traps heat air across the plant in the identical approach {that a} blanket retains us people heat – however as a substitute of trapping physique warmth, it retains the warmth that’s coming off the plant and soil. We figured it wouldn’t be foolproof with such low forecasted temps, however we knew even when it saved half of what we coated it could be price it. And we picked up some tricks to make it as profitable as potential that we’ll share with you under.

Outdoor plants covered with frost blankets during Florida freeze event

Use breathable cloth, not plastic

It could sound counterintuitive however utilizing breathable cloth so air can nonetheless circulate across the plant was the primary tip from native nurseries and on-line plant consultants alike. We learn over and over {that a} plastic drop fabric or plastic bag may be worse than no safety in lots of circumstances, since it will possibly maintain moisture in opposition to plant tissues and trigger extra critical freeze injury. Simply take into consideration the way you’d really feel coated in plastic vs cloth. Not enjoyable, proper? That’s why issues like spare bedsheets or towels are good options that you could be have already got round.

Should you can’t discover frost blankets, strive panorama cloth as a substitute

We don’t have many spare sheets, so we purchased a number of of those Frost Blankets after we first noticed the forecast. However a number of days later, after we went again to seize a pair extra, the shop was utterly offered out. Fortunately, somebody there advised us that panorama cloth – the type meant to dam weeds – is the same materials, making it an appropriate substitute. We discovered it to be somewhat thinner than the Frost Blankets, however it was additionally cheaper. And ultimately, they each appeared to carry out about the identical.

Landscape Fabric Side By Side With Plant Frost Blanket

Don’t “lollipop” your crops

Be sure that your blankets go all the way in which to the bottom. Your soil is the principle supply of the warmth that the blanket shall be trapping, so simply wrapping the leafy prime (like a lollipop wrapper) isn’t as efficient. When draping bushes or small timber, assume extra about making “ghosts” the place your cowl makes contact with the bottom on all sides. Additionally, don’t overlook to purchase some backyard stakes or panorama pins to maintain your covers held down – particularly if it’s going to be windy!

Outdoor plants covered with frost blankets during Florida freeze event

Tip 5: Add An Ambient Warmth Supply

To extend the quantity of heat air your blanket will entice, you too can introduce one other warmth supply. Somebody tipped us off that wrapping incandescent Christmas lights round your plant or by your plant beds is a good way to do that. LEDs gained’t work as a result of they don’t give off warmth, however the old-school ones – particularly the bigger C9 bulbs – are barely heat and recognized to work effectively. Simply watch out to not overload your breakers with too many strands. Right here’s what ours appeared like earlier than we coated them.

C9 Christmas Lights Wrapped On Fig Tree For Warmth

And right here’s what they appeared like after we put the frost blankets over them. I used to be kinda fairly, in a spooky type of approach!

Frost Blankets Over Fig Trees With Christmas Lights

We’ve additionally heard of individuals filling milk jugs with sizzling water and putting them close to their crops. The identical precept is at work, however this seemed like a extra labor-intensive method. Plus, since this was occurring on Christmas weekend for us, we had no hassle discovering loads of discounted C9 bulbs on the retailer. We bought 4 packing containers for the value of 1!

How Did Our Vegetation Fare?

After taking all the above actions, I’d like to say that our landscaping seems pretty much as good because it did earlier than the chilly snap (see the way it appeared this fall right here). It undoubtedly doesn’t. Regardless of our efforts, we, sadly, have a variety of crops – specifically tropicals – that simply aren’t constructed for the intense sustained “arduous freeze” that we skilled for 3 strong days in a row.

Dead plants after deep freeze event in Florida

I want there was a transparent takeaway like “blankets work” or “C9 bulbs are superb each time” however our outcomes had been too blended to attract such decisive conclusions. Some coated crops did nice (as in, they appeared pristine after we uncovered them) and a few didn’t. It’s probably that many if not all of our coated crops may come again based mostly on the bottom/root seeming to be unaffected and solely the leaves wanting limp (sometimes leaves can come again if their root/stem is okay) however they don’t all look nice proper now. We’ll need to replace you on how issues fare, so keep tuned for that.

However our overview is that whereas some coated crops had lights and a few didn’t, each teams had some crops that appeared nice upon uncovering them and a few actually wilted ones (which once more may utterly come again, however they don’t look nice now). As soon as once more: bringing crops inside was the one 100% success charge we had.

Picture Of Front Porch With Labels On What Lived And Died After Freezing

We expect a variety of this “assorted end result” could possibly be associated to particular plant species and planting areas. As an example, certainly one of our lime timber seems utterly nice (see under) and the opposite is mainly coated in brown leaves and all of the fruit dropped off. Each had been mulched and coated, however with out C9 bulbs. Our greatest guess is that one was much more uncovered to the wind than the opposite one because the happier one (seen under) was in a nook the place there have been two fence sides as wind breaks. Most of our extra tropical crops like monsteras, elephant ears, and gingers bought completely limp, however our philodendrons fared okay with a minimum of a number of happy-looking leaves and a base that’s already capturing up new wholesome leaves.

Small lime tree that survived freeze in Florida

Now we have a number of fiddle leaf figs planted outdoors as a result of we’ve had higher luck with them open air right here than inside. Over the previous 3 winters they’ve been outdoors & very completely satisfied, so we introduced within the potted one which we may, and for those that had been planted within the floor, we coated, mulched, and wrapped them in Christmas lights. The outcomes? One one got here out utterly unscathed (under proper). And, to our shock, it was the smallest and most not too long ago planted of the entire bunch. In truth, that complete mattress it was in did fairly effectively. So possibly it was simply in a hotter nook of our yard which as soon as once more had two fences assembly to type a wind break round it?

Side by Side photo of Figs That Died During Freeze With One That Survived

The one cause we really feel okay in regards to the different figs wanting so bleak is that we’ve seen a fiddle leaf fig utterly die inside our home (dropped all leaves, was a dead-looking stick) and after we put it outdoors it utterly regrew into an excellent big and wholesome tree. So we’re holding out hope that occurs once more with these. Will preserve you posted for certain.

So, once more, it’s arduous to attract clear conclusions about what of this effort labored… a minimum of not but… however it feels protected to say that it didn’t harm to try to we’ve excessive hopes for a lot of issues coming again this spring. (*crosses all fingers and toes*)

What’s The Good Information?

As I’ve talked about in relation to limp crops or brown leaves, all hope is just not misplaced. There’s an enormous distinction between a lifeless leaf and a lifeless plant, so simply because numerous our leaves are brown and wilted, doesn’t imply the entire plant’s a goner. They could simply want time to shed their frozen bits and regrow new ones when the climate heats up once more. In truth, a few of our crops have already began to indicate indicators of life (it has been about 3 weeks because the freeze).

Variegated Ginger Plant Regrowing After Freeze

So not solely do you have to not leap to conclusions about what survived and what didn’t, this leads us to our final tip…

Tip 6: Don’t Prune Proper Away

As antsy as we’re to scrub up all the dead-looking crops in our yard, most of the consultants we googled (and chatted with domestically) say that our crops will really do higher if we wait. Suggestions differ barely from plant to plant, however usually, listed here are some causes to place your shears away (for now):

You may reduce off wholesome branches or dig up wholesome crops

You most likely gained’t know what components of the plant are really lifeless instantly. Some injury could not seem instantly, whereas some rough-looking crops could bounce again in a number of days. Nonetheless, others gained’t sprout once more till the spring. You wouldn’t choose the well being of a tree based mostly on its empty branches within the winter, proper? So by ready for issues to start out greening up once more, you’ll have a a lot clearer thought of what crops (or components of your crops) didn’t survive.

Lifeless leaves can nonetheless defend your plant

Till you’re previous your space’s final potential frost (examine your frost dates right here) there’s all the time an opportunity you’ll expertise one other chilly snap this season. That lifeless materials can nonetheless provide some insulation to the residing components of the plant, whereas eradicating them leaves every plant extra uncovered to chilly and wind than earlier than.

You don’t need to stress your plant extra

After a freeze occasion, your plant focuses its sources on conserving its core alive and wholesome. That’s what you need it to do. Reducing branches or eradicating leaves too quickly may set off a progress response, which could unnecessarily “distract” its sources. Plus, if pruning does end in new progress, these new leaves change into much more weak to future freezes this season if one other chilly entrance rolls round.

Wilted tropical plants after Florida freeze event

Usually, we’ve adopted the rule of letting broken leaves and flowers fall off on their very own (even when it means ready for brand spanking new progress to push them off within the spring). However for something that’s mushy or gross, which tends to occur on some tropicals (see above), we take away that sooner to stop rot. This occurred to certainly one of our greatest elephant ears final 12 months throughout our one and solely temporary frost, however it grew again simply as large this 12 months. Fingers crossed it does that once more!

So regardless that our yard doesn’t look fairly the way in which we wish it to proper now, we’re reserving remaining judgment on what labored and what didn’t till spring and summer season rolls round. We’re hopeful that extra issues survived than it appears and, if not, we’ll reevaluate if we need to danger replanting the identical factor instead. A neighbor of ours mentioned she likes to have a look at these moments as a chance for issues to come back again hardier and stronger, so we’re hoping that holds true for our crops.

Further Freezin Climate Preparation

Our crops weren’t the one factor we took steps to guard throughout this latest chilly snap. Because it was our first time having such low temperatures in our Florida home, we protected our pipes from freezing too. A number of of our neighbors skilled burst pipes – particularly of their outside showers. However fortunately the steps we took spared us from having the identical hassle!

Outdoor Shower With Cap Placed On So It Can Drip To Prevent Freezing

Our warmth additionally stayed on this time, which was a giant assist, however we’ve additionally written about stop frozen pipes when your warmth goes out.

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