Two Steps To Cold Weather Preparedness

gillnurseryTimely Tips17 Comments

1. Water.

Make sure all plants are watered thoroughly before a cold front blows in, especially a dry cold front. You will also have to water after the cold front, since plants dry out quickly in a cold dry wind.

2. Cover Your Tropicals.

Plants may need to be covered when the temperatures drop into the mid to low 30’s. Create a teepee over the plants when covering and not the lollipop look. The key is to capture the ground warmth. Using sheets or other light weight material on the plants and then plastic on the outer layer will add the extra protection against the wind and cold. If plastic is placed directly on the leaves of plants it will burn the foliage, so always put a protective layer between if possible.

We carry N-Sulate Frost Blankets. They measure 12’x10′, $16.99 each. You can use anchor pins, bricks, lumber, clay pots etc… to weigh down around the bottom. We also carry Frost Blanket by the foot. It is 12′ wide and costs $1.69 a running foot. Make sure to uncover during the day when the temperatures warm up, so your plants don’t bake from too much heat build-up. Then re-cover before the temperatures drop again.

17 Comments on “Two Steps To Cold Weather Preparedness”

  1. I won’t be in town until Saturday but sure would like to have one of those N-Sulate blankets. Can I reserve one? Nina Shannon

    1. Patricia, if you are close to the coast and temps are mid-thirties, no worries. Some fresh fronds may bronze a little, but no real danger on pygmy date palms til you are at 30 or below. If we are going into the twenties, wrapping the palm trunk does little good, unless you provide a heat source like heating cable under that wrap. Better is to tent the palm with a tarp, like a pup tent or an igloo, edges reaching the ground, to trap ground heat and let that heat protect the heart of the palm.

  2. What about tomatoes and peppers in raised beds? They need to be covered as well don’t they?

    1. Deborah, it would definitely be best to cover peppers, they do not like cold weather. But if your plants are mature, not too young, they will take it better. Mature tomato plants are not as sensitive as peppers, but still best to protect if temperatures are approaching mid-thirties.

    1. Madagascar palm will survive to probably around 30 degrees, but it will drop leaves and pout at mid thirties. If not too large, you might want to bring it in for the cold event. If too large to move, you might throw a cover over it, draping to the ground.

    1. Janis, your lemon tree should be fine if temps go no lower than 35. If you are concerned, water it, tip it over sideways on the ground, and cover. Ground heat will be trapped around the roots, stems, and leaves and should protect it even down to 28.

  3. I covered tomato plants with a heavy cloth sheet. With our current rain fall do we need water our tomato plants? Do we water the leaves also. Thank you

    1. Do not water the leaves. And I would guess your established tomato plants will be able to pull plenty of moisture from our saturated soil for the next week, or more.

  4. I live close to the bay and have a lot of tropical plants plumeria bromeliads cardboard palm dessert rose ponytail palm some of my plants are huge I don’t want to loss them. Do you think they will be ok for this short freeze?

    1. Mary, all the plants you listed should be fine at 35°. I would be ready to cover just in case the forecast changes and it is going to get colder, but at 35° I think you’re OK. Never hurts to have some covering material ready just in case though

  5. You planted a beautiful crepe myrtle for us in October. Have followed watering schedule and now wondering about having to cover or not during freeze. It does not look like my area is in the freeze zone,however, what about the watering considering we had loads of rain the last two days???

  6. Hilda, you have absolutely nothing to worry about on your crape Myrtle. It could not possibly freeze in Corpus Christi unless we went below 20°. And that’s not going to happen. Also, the time it has been in the ground even just one month gives it enough rooting that watering is not so critical so I think the rains we’ve had are plenty of water.

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