South Texas Gardener: Help your plants survive cold weather

The South Texas Gardener, Gabriel Vega joined us on 3 News First Edition with a look at ways to protect your plants during the cold winter months.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Protect Tender Sprouts:    Cover tender plants overnight with an inverted bucket or flower pot, or with a layer of mulch. Be sure to uncover them in the morning when the temperature rises above freezing.
 
Cover Shrubs and Trees: Larger plants can be covered with fabric, old bed sheets, burlap, or commercial frost cloths (avoid using plastic). For best results, drape the cover over a frame to keep it from touching the foliage. Fabric covers help to trap heat from the soil, so make sure your cover drapes to the ground. Uncover them in the morning when the temperature rises above freezing.
 
Assess Losses: Hardy perennials, trees, and shrubs may recover from a late spring freeze, even if visibly damaged. Their blooms and fruit may be lost for the year, but once they begin actively growing you'll be able to determine and remove any permanent damage to stems and branches. Frost-tender plants will not recover at all, so avoid planting them until you're confident that freezing weather has passed.
 
Practice Prevention: Choose plants that are hardy for your climate zone, or plant tender plants in containers that can be brought indoors. Avoid applying fertilizer until after the last frost, to prevent a flush of tender growth that can be damaged by the cold.

Bring Your Potted Plants Inside

Apply Mulch

Keep Your Plants Covered

Use a Cold Frame

Provide a Heat Source


If the temperatures in your area are predicted to be exceptionally cold, you can provide some warmth to your plants by using an artificial heat source. Place your heat source inside your cold frame or tarp covering to warm the air and protect your plants. Be sure to use only certified exterior heat sources for this. Holiday lights are a good choice, as are 100 watt bulbs. Anything too hot could damage your plants, so be sure to check the wattage before placing them in your garden. The bulbs should not touch the plants as that could lead to a damaging burn. Make sure the extension cords you might use to power the lights are also safe for the outdoors. Uncover your plants and turn off the heat source during the day to provide enough ventilation.


Keep Your Plants Watered.

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