Covering plants for freeze

Bumblebeez SC Zone 7April 4, 2009

My list of plants to cover seems enormous but two years ago I covered lots of stuff and didn't do a very good job mostly because it was very windy.

I have piles of old sheets for this purpose but should I also put some newspaper down first?

The sheets weren't enough last time.

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I'm hoping that the temperatures don't go as low as first predicted (mid-20's). Latest numbers I have seen, are in the low 30's for my area
The oily plants I am really concerned about are the Hydrangeas, most of which have new foliage emerging.
In past years, I have covered those with sheets, blankets, rugs, tarps, plastic and almost anything else I could find around the house and it didn't work, they were damaged anyway. I am hoping they can bounce back this year, as they did after the Easter weekend debacle in 2007. There were only a few that didn't bloom that year.

I will bring in some tender plants, that I have already placed out for the year, house ferns, Mandevillas, Boston ferns, Dragonwing Begonias, etc. All are near the door, so no large effort will be necessary. Citrus trees are still inside, thank goodness!
Hope your plants fare well. I have my fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 11:34PM
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It is good to be prepared.
It depend how long the temperature will stay at and under freezing mark. If it last only for couple of hour a lot cover might do. But for prolonged freez more needs to be done.
I am going to put some leaves on my planta and then put a burlap or plastic sheets on top, secured with some weight.
Leaves can provide better insulation than just plain cover.
This way, the gound's warmth won't be blown away as fast.

Also, start covering early, to keep more heat in the ground.
I will keep the leaves in place until wednesday morning.

But luckily the frost will not be sever. They forecat 31 for monday night and 28F for tuesday nigh for my zone. but bad thing is that it will be windy, that can cool the ground and plants faster. So go for dry leaves and straw if you have some.

Good luck to all.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 12:01AM
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Finally, I could check HOURLY forEcast fot both MON and TURS nights. In both caseS the temperatures will visit 32F to 30F teritory for about an hour or so.
This means that a ligh cover can protect most cold sensative plants.But it is good practice to assume that it may be colder than that. Because FORECAST is just that; a FORECAST.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 6:08AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

It is supposed to be VERY windy Monday and Tuesday night, so if you do cover, make sure it's secured.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 8:56AM
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vicki7(z7 N.Ga.)

Well, I SAID I wasn't going to cover up but a couple of things, but I lied. Hubby and I have just come inside from covering up: lots of azaleas w/buds, 3 peonies, Miss Kim lilac, and quite a few hostas. I'm trying to resist the urge to go out and cover up the hydrangeas. It occurred to me while out there in the howling wind that every year in recent memory I've done this same thing! Hope everyone's plants fare well tonight and tomorrow night...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 5:15PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

I used every single extra pillowcase in a house to slip over smaller hydrangeas and peonies. Those are my most treasured. Also used sheets (fitted ones are best) to cover up tender perennials. Still none of hostas got covered. Most roses are left to the mercy of nature. There is simply way too many plants, and so little sheets. I used my hair clips to keep the sheets in place (clipped them to the woody plants). Well, you got to do what you need to do, and get creative.
So far so good - most sheets stay in place. Will the plants be protected - that remains to be seen. All I can do is pray and visualize a positive outcome.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 5:35PM
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aqrose(7b NE GA)

Yikes, I didn't realize it was going to get so cold. My poor azaleas! They're absolutely gorgeous right now & I'm afraid that the cold is going to zap the blooms into mush. But the wind is blowing so fiercely that I don't think it'll do any good to try covering them. :(
I have 2 peonies in garden pots that are just now emerging with new growth. Should I bring them inside or will they be ok?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 6:25PM
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I JUST this minute came in from covering the new May Night salvia I put out (they may have been OK without the covering, but...) and from covering the tomato plants. Oh well...I guess it's my fault, y'all. I planted tomatoes and everybody knows that's how you bring ON the last cold planting your tomatoes. Everybody can blame me for this one! :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 6:45PM
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I have five of them in the ground and two in pots. (They have been in the ground and the pots for several weeks.) To cover or not to cover...what say you?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 6:54PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I would bring in anything I could. I brought in two potted roses that have buds. I was only able to cover two hydrangeas that I already cut low. I covered them with shredded leaves then a overturned 7 gallon pot with a brick on top. Same with 2 clematis. Everything else is too big.

I checked the NOAA forecast for my area and it now says only going down to 30 tonight and tomorrow night. So I think it should be ok. We will find out tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 7:57PM
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Do you think that a pillow case can protect from frost ?

I only covered my anuals with some dry leaves topped with pine straw. I put pine straw to prevent from winds blowing the leaves away.

In my area the low is forcasted about 31 and tomorrow night at 29F. As I check the detailed hourly forecast we should not get beelow 32F both tonight and tomorrow night. I don't understand why Accuweather's houry forcast shows low of 32 then then their general forcast calls for 29F and says " WATCH FOR HARD FREEZING ", DUUh!!!
Anyway, 2 to 3 inches of leaves and straw should be able to prevent from wind chilling while the ground temperatue keep the annuals warm.
We shall see.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 8:59PM
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aqrose(7b NE GA)

Fingers crossed! I had too much stuff in pots to bring in so I ended up setting them on the porch which I surrounded with cardboard boxes and recycling bins making a square and then covering all of that up with some plastic sheeting held down with some wood. I don't know if it'll do any good, but maybe that little bit will be enough protection (I hope). Now Accuweather is saying only down to 37! The radar sure is showing lots of blue stuff on the radar that looks like it's headed this way, even though they say not.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 11:32PM
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My temperature gauges outside only went down to 37 deg this morning. All my work covering plants with sheets was unnecessary. Tonight is so supposed to be colder though, should I uncover everything for the day and recover them tonight? I am most worried about my blueberries in pots that have open buds on them. I don't have a garage. Could I put these in my car to keep them warm?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 8:21AM
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I am so glad it is over.

With some orecautionary measures it turned out fine.

I drink to that!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:42PM
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We got low, low, temps and we turned out fine. Our blueberries were outside with blossoms and no covers and did fine. I covered my tomatoes (that my son conned me in putting in too early) with straw, a plastic bag and then a five gallon bucket. The peppers I just covered with straw and they all made it through just fine.

Let's hope we don't have another Easter freeze like we did last year.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Corner Yard

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:27PM
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