Feel that chill? It’s a reminder that frost season is already here.
Sure, we’ve had a warmer than average autumn, but we should be thinking about colder nights ahead. We’ve passed Sacramento’s average annual first frost date, Nov. 14. Overnight lows already are dipping into the 30s.
Help your tender plants with advance preparation before temperatures plummet. Here are some reminders for coping with frosty nights:
▪ If temperatures below 32 degrees are forecast, water your plants lightly in the late afternoon or early evening before frost hits. Wet soil holds more heat than dry soil and this also raises the humidity level.
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▪ Pull back mulch away from plants so the ground can radiate any stored heat.
▪ If overnight frost is expected, move potted plants to protected areas indoors or under a covered patio.
▪ Cover sensitive plants before sunset; that helps capture any ground heat. Cloth sheets or blankets work better than clear plastic. Allow for air circulation. Remove the covers by mid-morning or risk suffocating the plant.
▪ Use heat caps or row covers to protect tender vegetable transplants.
▪ String old-fashioned Christmas lights – the ones that get hot – on the trunks and limbs of citrus, avocado and other frost-sensitive trees and bushes.
▪ Wrap the trunks of tender trees or shrubs with rags, towels, blankets or pipe insulation.
▪ If a plant shows frost burn, don’t cut off the damaged foliage. It will help protect the plant from further harm. Remove the burned leaves in spring.