can I protect my plants from frost?
worried that some of my plants may succumb to frost this year. How
can I protect them?
air is heavier than warm air and flows to the bottom of valleys,
where frosts may occur on cold clear nights. It is prudent, therefore,
to temporarily remove frost-tender plants from the bottom of slopes
or valleys until any risk of frost is over.
There are a number of
simple ways to protect plants from frost. For the smaller plant,
place a large, transparent glass jar over it, remembering to remove
it every now and then to allow for air exchange.
An old coal box with
a transparent lid to let in light is also useful.
Alternatively, you can
construct a small glasshouse by using bricks as the base (to store
warmth from the sun) and covering it with an old window frame.
Frost cloth lets in light
and air. Place the cloth over the plant and anchor it down. If you
need something in a hurry, you could try using bubble wrap or newspaper
as a substitute. Don't leave these on for extended periods of time,
however. The bubble wrap will not allow any air through, and the
newspaper will eventually turn soggy.
Do not prune or fertilise
plants in autumn because new growth will be frost tender. If a plant
is frost damaged, leave the damaged parts alone. This will act as
a protection to other parts of the plant.
Increase mulch in the
soil because this retains moisture, which helps stop frost from
Finally, be prepared.
Know your plants, watch the weather and know what to do when the
first frost strikes.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH