How do you protect your plants during the winter?

LullabyF360November 16, 2013

Even though a tree or a shrub is planted in spring, it is still young enough to be severly damaged by frost. Some plants just cannot be brought into the house during the cold temperatures, & not everyone has the space or finances for a greenhouse large enough for all of their young plants that are hardy in their zone. I reguarly see black or white trash bags tied over young trees. To be honest, I do not see how opaque plastic bags can allow sunlight in, & in my head, I see that as detrimental to what is being protected. I am using clear plastic bags a lady from Walmart was generous to give me (they use them for their store trash cans but do not sale them in stores. Neither my Lowes or Home Depot had them. Bizzare). I was once given the tip to use blankets from thrift stores. I am in north Louisiana, so my winters are as bipolar as a desert: freezing during the night; warm during the day. That being said, those I see with plastic covered plants leave the covering on day in, day out. At some point would it need to be removed to let the plant breath or at least recieve sunlight? Some of the plants I have seen being covered do not go dormant during the winter. I am just a little puzzled by what I have traditionally seen in my area & would like everyone insight to how they protect their outdoor plants from the cold & frost.

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I am from a desert climate zone too. Frost covers have worked very well for last several years. Even the occasional deep freezes have so far not been a problem for the covered plants. A few tropicals in containers have also survived well when kept covered in the patio. A jasmine plant in container kept blooming under the frost cover in the patio even in winter.
I have written more details and some other winter protection ideas in this article:

Here is a link that might be useful: El Paso Twigs

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

How are things going?

If what you planted is reliably hardy, no protection should be needed, especially if put in ground in spring. Where the ground does not freeze, heaving is not a problem. Attempting to keep plants that should go dormant in vigorous growth mode at the wrong time of year could be extra stress, not helpful. Unlikely in Z8 but worth mentioning. Couldn't tell if you are talking about plants in pots or in the ground? What plants?

If you are zone-pushing Z9+ plants, I don't think I would use any kind of plastic. A pile of leaves is my usual method. Some paving bricks adjacent to the roots (on S side,) or dark-colored jugs of water, dark rocks, can also help keep the ground slightly warmer. Regardless of method, excellent drainage is usually a key factor in successful zone pushing. Wet + cold = rot. Dry + cold = exponentially higher chances of survival.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 12:21PM
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These are in the ground. I don't think my angel trumpets made it. Even though I had then covered during the times for frost, they still were damaged. They are planted on the slope in my backyard, so water does not stand. I have been keeping my eye on them, & it seems everytime I look at them, they appear to be in worse condition (I still keep them covered). I have my fingers crossed & hope that the roots are in good health. I know they go dormant during the winter, but the trunk & branches are not looking good.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If you mean Brugmansia, the above-ground parts die back, then regrow from the roots.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 2:22PM
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The trunks are severly damaged. There is mold in a few places, & the branches have turned soft & mushy.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 1:46PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That sounds normal for Brugmansia.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 2:32PM
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I practice survival of the fittest. What makes it, makes it. I try to plant things that at least do reliably well given the extreme temps that the desert throws at us. I also grow a lot of things from seeds which seems to give plants a better edge in the long run.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:09PM
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The way Louisiana acts, it's practically a desert. Yesterday the high was 25, but by the end of the week comes, the highs will be in the mid 60s 0_o While it is still chilly I need to get out there & prep my garden area for this year's vegetables.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:30PM
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