Covering plants during the winter can help protect them from frost, freezing temperatures, and harsh winds. These conditions can cause damage to leaves, branches, and even the roots of the plant, which can make it more difficult for the plant to survive and thrive once spring arrives.
One common way to cover plants during the winter is to use frost blankets or frost cloths. These are made of lightweight, permeable materials that allow light and moisture to pass through, but provide insulation to help keep the temperature around the plant above freezing. Another way is to use horticultural fleece, which also made of lightweight, permeable fabric that protect against frost but also protects against strong winds and heavy snow.
Another approach is to create a physical barrier around the plant, such as building a protective structure around it, or planting it in a sheltered location. Using evergreen trees or shrubs as windbreaks to protect plants can also be very helpful.
It’s important to note that not all plants need protection during the winter. Some are naturally hardy and can withstand cold temperatures without any problems, while others may only require protection in certain climates or regions. Consulting with local gardening expert or gardening book can be helpful in determining which plants need protection in your area.
Cheap solution to protect plants
There are a few inexpensive ways to protect plants during the winter:
- Mulching: Adding a layer of mulch around the base of your plants can help insulate their roots from the cold. This can be done with materials such as leaves, straw, or grass clippings.
- Row Covers: Row covers, sometimes called agricultural fleece, made of lightweight, permeable fabric that allows light, air, and moisture to pass through, but provides insulation to help keep the temperature around the plant above freezing.
- Plastic bottles or Jugs: Cut the bottom off of plastic bottles or jugs and place them over individual plants, securing them in place with stakes or rocks. This creates a mini greenhouse around the plant that can help to trap heat and protect it from frost.
- Burlap: Wrapping plants with burlap can help protect them from harsh winds and heavy snow.
- Paper or cloth bags: Place paper or cloth bags over individual plants, leaving the top open so light and moisture can reach the plant.
- It’s important to note that these solutions may not provide as much protection as heavy-duty frost blankets or physical structures and may not suitable for all plants and in some areas with severe winter. Consult with local gardening expert or gardening book can be helpful in determining which of these methods will work best for your plants and in your area.
When is the perfect time to put the protection
The best time to start protecting plants for winter depends on a few factors, including the type of plant, the severity of the winter in your area, and the timing of the first frost or freeze.
For many plants, it’s best to begin protecting them in the fall, before the first frost or freeze. This allows you to take steps to protect the plant while it’s still actively growing, which can help to ensure that it’s healthy and strong heading into winter.
As a general rule, it’s best to start protecting tender plants (those that are not cold hardy in your area) about 2-4 weeks before the first frost. For hardier plants, you can wait until the first frost or freeze is imminent.
Monitoring weather forecast and local frost/freeze dates can be helpful to time it correctly. A good way to know if it’s time to protect your plants is to look for signs of fall, such as changing leaves or falling fruit, or to pay attention to the temperature drops at night.
It’s also a good idea to check on your plants throughout the winter, especially after heavy snow or strong winds. Reapply any protective covering that may have been dislodged or damaged, and remove any covering that may be impeding the growth of the plant in the spring.
When is the perfect time to remove the protection
The timing for removing protective covering from plants in the winter depends on a few factors, including the type of plant, the severity of the winter in your area, and the timing of the last frost or freeze.
As a general rule, it’s best to wait until the danger of frost or freezing temperatures has passed before removing protective covering from plants. This is typically when the weather starts to consistently warm up, and the days are getting longer.
A good way to know when to remove the protective covering is to monitor the weather forecast and look for signs of spring, such as the emergence of new growth on the plant, or to pay attention to the temperature rises in the day.
It’s also important to note that some plants may require a gradual acclimation to the warmer temperatures, especially if they have been protected for an extended period of time. Removing the protective covering all at once on a sunny warm day can cause the plant to be sunburned or damaged by the sudden change. Gradual exposing them over a week, first for a few hours a day, and then extending the time, can be helpful.
As always, it’s a good idea to consult with local gardening expert or gardening book to get the best advice for your specific plants and region.
Winter Reusable Plants Protection
Many of the materials used to protect plants during the winter, such as frost blankets, row covers, and plastic bottles or jugs, are reusable. This means that you can use them from year to year, as long as they are still in good condition.
Frost blankets and row covers, for example, are often made of durable materials that can withstand multiple seasons of use. Plastic bottles and jugs can also be used multiple times, as long as they are cleaned and stored properly. Mulch materials like leaves, straw or grass clippings can also be gathered in a compost bin and used again.
It’s important to note that these materials may need some maintenance, such as cleaning or patching, between seasons to make sure they are in good condition for the next time they are used.
On the other hand, materials such as burlap, cloth or paper bags are not designed to be reusable and it’s recommended to discard them after one season. They can be biodegradable, but the burlap may not and could release microplastics into soil and water.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the effectiveness of protective covering can decrease over time, particularly with repeated exposure to sunlight, wind, and precipitation. It’s a good idea to inspect the materials periodically and to replace them as needed to ensure that they continue to provide adequate protection for your plants.
Does the color of the protection matter?
The color of the material used to protect plants during the winter is not as important as its ability to provide insulation and block the wind. However, some people believe that the color of the material can affect the temperature around the plant, with light-colored materials reflecting more light and heat, and dark-colored materials absorbing more light and heat.
A light-colored frost blanket or row cover, for example, may reflect more sunlight and heat, which can help to keep the temperature around the plant higher. This can be particularly beneficial for plants that are sensitive to cold temperatures, or for protecting plants during cold snaps or unexpected frosts.
On the other hand, dark-colored materials can absorb more light and heat, which can be beneficial for plants that are sensitive to frost or freezing temperatures, or for protecting plants during prolonged cold spells. This can help to keep the temperature around the plant higher, which can be beneficial for the plant’s overall health.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of a frost blanket or row cover will depend on other factors such as thickness of the material, fabric composition and its permeability. Therefore, it’s recommended to choose a material that is designed to provide insulation and block the wind, rather than focusing on its color.
It’s also worth noting that UV protection can be important if the plant is covered for a prolonged period. A UV-stabilized material can be chosen to help against potential damages from prolonged exposure to sunlight.