Saturday, February 3, 2007

Frost-Bitten Plants

Did your yards get as bit by frost this cold winter as mine? Here's some tips to prevent losing those precious plants next time!

Sheets - if there is a threat of both rain and frost, sheets are NOT a good idea because sheets will freeze to the plant and frost damage will still occur. Your best choice is heavy, clear plastic because it will allow sunlight in during the day and won't freeze to the plant at night or with the rain.

Christmas Lights - for citrus trees, get in the holiday spirit and decorate them with outdoor Christmas lights to help keep them warm. Lights are a great alternative to keep the fruit pulp from turning to slush with the frost.

Hydration - make sure your plants have plenty of water (and rain doesn't count!). Water from the ground is warmer than the air and will help insulated the plant, provided the plant has enough water to circulate. Don't let them dry out, thinking all the rain will be enough!

Don't Prune! - if your plants do get bitten by the frost, don't prune them, much as you may be tempted to get the dead branches off! The dead material will help insulate the rest of the plant, as well as new buds, from further frost. You can prune once you are sure there is no chance for more frost. Mid-to-late February in Arizona would be a good bet.