Frost can ruin a lot of things both for your backyard tropical plants and your fall food garden. The cold early mornings during the first days of winter will dictate the length of survival for your trees outdoors. The best way to protect your plant from freeze damage during winter is to invest in a frost fabric. These come as either bag or row covers, and will do justice to your landscape by keeping snow and ice away from the foliage and branches of your trees. It’s, in fact, wiser to place the frost garden fabric protection cover early in winter so as to protect your plants from early or late damage by frost.
A preemptive way of freeze protection is to avoid planting trees of tender species in low spots or exposed areas that are highly susceptible to cold air settling. It’s wiser to plant them next to a west-or south-facing wall because from there, they can absorb heat during the day and radiate it at night. The potential alternative to shed cloth that you can use for protection includes shrubs, boulders and fences.
The Risk of Not Using Frost Fabric for Freeze protection
Frost can lead to the formation of ice crystals in the plant cells. This is detrimental to the plant since the movement of fluids is inhibited and water is made unavailable to the plant tissues. Frost damage often leaves a water-soaked appearance, and the leaves shrivel and change their color from green to black or dark brown.
Keeping your plants warm in winter will ensure that the cell functioning continues as usual. Some of the most cold-sensitive plants that require freeze protection are cactus and succulents, tropical plants, ferns, citrus and avocados.
What Determines A Good Frost Fabric?
Not every shed cloth is made in the same way. The best frost fabric is one that has been designed specifically for plant cover. Pay particular attention to the fabric since it is the one that determines the amount of cold that will be able to reach the plant. Most plant covers made of plastic are capable of transmitting cold, which inevitably leads to more damage to your plants.
Choose a frost fabric that is wide and light enough for light to stop passing through the leaves. The material should be of good quality, since you are recommended to cover the plants for an extended period until the weather condition or temperatures are safe for them.
There are people who opt for sheets and blankets for their plant cover. This works but it is hectic, since you will be tasked with removing this type of garden cover when the temperature hits 40 degrees to protect your plants from heat damage. Blankets and sheets also don’t allow enough sunlight to penetrate to the plants, and may sometimes be too heavy to secure over the plants.
A little knowledge on the environment will come in handy in selecting the right frost fabric. The soil surface is warmed when there is sunlight in the day. This heat begins to radiate into the atmosphere as the night approaches. In winter, the coldest temperatures are in the early morning and late in the evening. As snow falls, cold tends to settle down since it is heavier whereas hot air tends to rise. What this means is that you need a frost protection cover that can permanently be in your garden until a certain time period when the temperatures will normalize.
Frost Fabric Can Encourage Growth of Plants
You should prepare your landscape prior to winter, especially if you are planning to cover your plants for protection against frost. The soil should be moist since moist soil tends to absorb more heat. If ice crystals fall directly on the ground near the plant cover, they will suck moisture from the leaves and in turn, the plants will get dehydrated and get damaged. The only plants that can sometimes survive such trauma are succulents. Winter also comes with the wind, which can dry out plants. Having a frost cover cloth for your plants can protect your plants from the drying effect that is caused by the winds during winter.
How to Apply Frost Fabric on Plants?
If you are using a frost protection cover for the first time, the following steps can help you correctly apply them on your plants.
- Drape the plant(s) completely from top to bottom.
- Cover the plants in the first days of snow fall, since conditions will worsen with time; exposing your plants to more danger.
- Cover every single opening no matter how tiny so that no cold air enters and no warm air escapes.
- Ensure that your frost cloth touches the ground up to the drip line of the plant.
- Secure the fabric to the ground with frost fabric staples or a heavy object, like a brick. This will ensure that the cloth traps the warm air radiated from the ground completely, since it will form a seal with the ground.
Can Frost Fabric Be Used On Trees?
Yes, you can use frost fabric to protect your cold-sensitive trees. When using the frost cloth on the trees, completely cover it without leaving any part of the trunk exposed; since this will cause radiant heat from the ground to escape. Not covering the trunk of the tree will actually be a waste of time, as the cloth will not even be able to collect moisture or heat when cold sinks and displaces warm air.
Types of Frost Fabric for Different Plant Sizes
- Garden cloche tunnel plant cover: This is for medium to large plants, which are quite mature and have strong roots.
- Green house protection: This is a long term protection for all weather seasons.
- Portable flower garden greenhouse