What is Frost?
Frost is a thin layer of ice formed by changing water vapor from a gas into a solid in cold temperatures. A plant is injured by frost when ice crystals form in the water of the plant cell. It destroys plant cells and disrupts fluid flow. Plants don’t suffer as much damage from a light frost of 28°F to 32°F as they do from a hard frost of below 28°F.
Important Point to ponder
There are some vegetables that taste better after a frost. Beets, Carrots, Turnip and Parsnips have better taste after the first frost. But this tastes good before the ground freezes.
When is Frost Expected?
Watching the weather forecast is an essential part of gardening, but there are a few changes in environment in which frost is likely to occur. At night, clouds have a cooling effect that helps protect the earth from sudden temperature rises, but clear skies allow the earth to escape heat. A freezing point can be reached more easily under calm conditions with little wind because very little air movement means warm air does not spread over the ground. Ice crystals are formed when the air is moist.
Protection of plants from frost
Frost can be damage our crops, but a little awareness and preparation can make a huge difference in protecting them.
1. Bring plants indoor
Before a frost arrives, wait until dusk and bring your plants inside. Frost can damage plants in containers because the earth will not insulate the plants as it does for plants planted in the ground.
The roots of potted plants are highly sensitive in colder temperatures. Choose a location that doesn’t have sudden changes in temperature such as a sheltered area in your garage or shed.
When you bring plants inside, make sure they are free from pests and disease. To prevent the spread of insects, keep your plants separate from your houseplants. You should move your plants outside in the morning after the frost has passed.
2. Watering Plants in the Afternoon
The soil must be kept moist so the plant can be protected from frost. As night falls, moist soil absorbed heat from the surrounding air and radiate it upward. Water plants in the midday when the temperature is still moderate.
3. Mulch the ground thickly
Adding a layer of mulch to garden will help protect the soil from sudden change in temperature. You can use straw, wood chips, leaf mold, or even just a pile of leaves to provide insulation for a plant’s roots. Make a good barrier by heavily mulching between 3 and 6 inches deep in soil.
The center stalk of the plant should have an inch or two of air space around it so that the soil’s heat can escape upward. When it comes to keeping garden beds low maintenance, mulching is probably the best thing you can do. The mulch should remain on your garden bed for a while, but you should remove some of it when it gets warmer.
4. Cover each plant with a cloche
A cloche is a bell-shaped cover made from plastic or glass that helps to keep the roots of plants warm in cold climates. Plastic garden cloches are available and can be reused during warm or cold weather.
For the best frost protection, place cloches over your plants at night and then uncover them the next morning so they can receive the heat and sunlight.
5. Provide a blanket
Several plants can be protected by covering them with warm cloths. Cover your plants with fabric. Place several stakes around them so that a tent-like structure forms.
Hang the material right over the plants. Tie it off around the plant’s trunk or stem, so that the heat of the earth cannot escape. Add a layer of plastic to protect plant from frost. Plastic can cause damage so be careful that no part of the plastic covers the plant’s foliage.
By using heavy stones or bricks, you can prevent the coverings from slipping off during the night. It’s best to cover your plants just before dusk. If dealing with frost is something you deal with regularly, it might be a good idea to invest in a specially designed frost blanket that you can cut to fit or reuse.
6. Cover your trees
Among 1 to 4 year old trees, frost injury will cause them to die. In spring, frost can harm the buds and blooms of fruit trees, resulting in shortened harvests throughout the remaining growing season.
Citrus trees should be protected from frost when temperatures dip to 29°F. You can protect trees’ trunks from the cold by wrapping them in towels, blankets, cardboard, or rags.
Protect your tree by wrapping it in burlap or felt. It is important to overlap layers by a couple inches. Then wrap the tree until you reach the lowest branches.
7. Allow the air to circulate
In commercial agriculture, farmers have used various strategies to simulate wind when frost threatens vast tracts of land. There is a device known as a selective inverted sink, which is a large fan in a chimney that pushes cold air upwards and pulls warmer air downwards. To maintain airflow above crops, a number of low-flying helicopters may be assigned. The use of an electric fan can create an artificial breeze on still nights without any rain in the forecast.
How to Deal with a Frost?
When the leaves and branches of your plants turn black or brown, it means that they are damaged by frost. Pruned when the weather warms up and all danger of frost is gone. Hold off on removing the damaged foliage until you see new growth on the branch or twig.
Low temperature causes the plants to frost. It is damaging phenomena to plants. There are many ways to protect the plant from frosting i.e. by bringing plants indoor, mulching the ground, providing a blanket and some other techniques.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: If the flowers get wet first then frost, can they still be covered with a towel?
Answer: Yes, the flower trees can be covered with suitable drop cloths or by blanket to keep warm air around the plant. This will act as Insulator.
Question: Can plants be cover with garbage bags to protect them from frost?
Answer: No, plastic bags including black plastic bags are forbidden to use because plastic damage the plant badly. When cover the plant with the plastic bags it drop the temperature and remains the plant cold.
Question: Is frost protection necessary for pansies?
Answer: They do not require frost protection necessarily because this plant is hard enough. Dry wind and frozen soil damage the plant but here snow cover helps this plant to protect from wind and act as insulator.
Question: How does fruit trees are affected by frost?
Answer: The freezing temperature will disrupt the flowers, leaf buds as well as branches of trees. Potential fruit loss can also be occurred due to this frost.