In Austin, when someone says they’re worried about how the weather will affect their plants, that usually means heat or drought. However, every winter there always seems to be that one cold snap that takes out half your garden bed without you realizing it, and you’re left feeling completely confused.
That’s why we’re here to help! Here are our tips for how to combat the cold, so you can continue to enjoy your landscape all year long. H
1. Stick with Styrofoam: The tips of the cactus are the most sensitive to frost damage, because that’s where they put out new growth. A styrofoam cup is heavy enough to where it won’t fly off, and the warm air trapped inside helps the cactus get through those chilly nights.
2. Take out a Towel: For some plants it’s best to cover them completely with a towel, burlap sack, or blanket. This traps in heat and also helps prevent frost crystals from forming on your plant. Remember to take off your sheet when it starts to warm up again, otherwise moisture can condense inside and freeze in the next frost.
3. Water them Well: I know it seems counterintuitive to water your plants right before a frost, but that’s actually one of the best things you can do for them. Water acts as a insulator, trapping in more heat than dry aerated soil. Plump, water filled leaves will be more protected against cold damage, which can quickly dry out a plant.
DON’T DO THIS WITH SUCCULENTS!
Succulents prefer dry soil, and their specialized leaves can burst in the cold if they have been given too much water.
4. Pause, don’t Panic: Even if your plant does experience some frost damage that doesn’t mean it’s dead. Sometimes, all it needs is a good pruning to get right back to its old self. Wait until spring to see the difference between healthy stems and dead before you prune. Pruning too early will expose the plant to further frost damage, which could result in the entire plant’s eventual end.