Cold weather comes with a great challenge of protecting tender new growth from getting damaged due to cold. All conditions that a plant experience affects its hardiness and health. Lack of water can cause wilting and even death in plants. Also, a dearth or excess of nutrients can contribute to a negative effect on the health of the plant. Severe drops in temperature can cause damage to the plant’s vitality. The cold usually freezes the cells in plants and cause damage while interrupting the pathways for water and nutrients to flow. Heavy snow breakage, salt damage, sun scald, desiccation and many other injuries are also some of the ways that cold affects plants.
How to Minimize Damage to Plants
The following tips can help in minimizing damage to plants:
- Only plant varieties that are known to be hardy to your zone.
- During hot weather, stop feeding your plants quickly-available nitrogen; leave them to harden off before the cold weather.
- You should not plant variegated or golden varieties because they are tender.
- Avoid plants that are marginal; however, in cases where you cannot resist buying them, you should place them in containers, and then put them in the basement or garage until all the dangers associated with frosts pass.
- Shade your plant from direct winter sun, particularly the early morning sun. A plant that thaws and freezes slowly will be least damaged.
Protecting Plants From Cold Damage
- Mulching will protect your tender plants; when you mulch with organic material, it helps to improve the soil as the mulch is decomposing and releasing nutrients to the earth. During Autumn, you should pull back the old mulches from the plant’s base and spread a new layer of 3 inches around it out to the drip line. You should leave a space of about half an inch around the stem of the plant to allow air to circulate and prevent rot.
- Rake a heap of soil around the roses’ base to a depth of about 12-18 inches for protecting the crown.
- You should whitewash tree trunks that are tender or wrap them with burlap to prevent sunscald.
- Lay a layer of 6-8 inches of straw or wood chips over flower beds and perennial.
- Protect outdoor plants during cold weather with screen or frames that are erected on the southwest and water before a freeze. When the soil is wet, it prevents soil injury to roots: soil that is moist holds more heat when compared to dry soil.
Treating Cold Damaged Plants
Prune broken limbs immediately, making clean cuts using sharp tools. If a plant is misshapen completely after a corrective pruning, you should consider pruning the whole plant where the next growth is going to be in the balance. You can Straighten trees by guying or cabling. Uprooted trees should be straightened and staked immediately. Remove any damaged limbs or roots by pruning. Make sure the tree is watered and mulched during stress periods.
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