|Protect your plants when winter winds blow
by ALLISON MILES
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Victoria County Master Gardener Association at 361-575-4581
Charlie Neumeyer, President Elect for the Victoria County Master Gardener Association,
"Frosts and Freezes" by Travis County Extension Director, Skip Richter
and Cornell University Cooperative Extension Website
As winter rears its chilly head, long-sleeved shirts, jackets and the occasional cup of hot cocoa might soon become more prevalent throughout the Crossroads.
But thin-blooded South Texans aren't the only ones who need protection during the cold days to come. Outdoor plants should bundle up, too.
Here are some ways to make sure that outdoor vegetation is still around -- and healthy -- this spring.
Keep plants well watered
If plants are healthy to begin with, they stand a better chance of making it through the winter. Also, moist soil holds four times the heat than dry does.
Avoid covering plants in plastic
Plastic causes condensation, which can then freeze. If you must use plastic, place some sort of cloth between it and the plant.
Spray plants with water before a freeze
Even if outdoor temperatures drop lower, the plant's internal temperature will remain above the freeze point.
Place mulch around the plants
A thick layer provides added protection and insulation up to the plant's crown. Be careful not to smoother the plant in the process.
Light them up
Strings of lights beneath a frost cover can generate heat, protecting the foliage. LED lights most likely will not do much good, however.
Usher them indoors
Some plants simply can't tolerate extreme cold. In some cases, the best thing to do is move potted plants into either the house or garage.
Ask for help
Representatives with local nurseries, garden centers, gardening associations and more are always willing to lend a hand if necessary.
Don't be discouraged
When it gets severely cold, you can't always help it. Despite your best efforts, foliage fatalities might still occur.