Betting against the Frost...and losing!

gillian_(z5 PA)May 23, 2006

Guess I shouldn't go to Vegas! I was betting against frost last night, afterall the WeatherChannel webpage said the low would be 35. So after pulling the tender annual pots in I called it quits. At 9:00 last night when I checked to see how cold it was I thought just maybe I should run out with all my extra sheets but the lazy side of me decided to play the odds. Well the lazy side of me got pulled out of bed at 6AM by the Hubby. "If you want to save your plants you better get out and start watering right now before the sun hits them!"

So I got my cardio-vascular workout for the day running around the yard dragging a hose from garden to garden for a good half hour to 45 min. Hopefully that will do the trick again (yes, I have lost at this betting against frost thing before) and save all my babies. Although I have my doubts about Zounds...just planted him in the hosta garden yesterday..he was looking pretty sad this morning.

Side note for all you WinterSowers...all the little WS sprouts didn't seem to be phased at all by the frost. They were just as perky as ever!


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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Gillian - You can get frost even with temps in the mid-upper 30s due to radiational cooling, where the temp at ground level is actually colder than up a few feet where a thermometer might be placed.

Hope your babies are okay and will recover! I think this is about the last of it and summer will be on its way next week.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 10:04AM
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We had frost here, at the foot of the mountains, in Fayette County. I'm glad I covered!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 12:06PM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

I too debated whether to cover or not, but I wasn't taking any chances. I watered and frost. Better safe than sorry.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 3:41PM
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skippy05(z7 PA)

I am fairly new at this so could someone explain to me
why you water ?
I live in the city & we only have a tiny backyard which is pretty much protected BUT I am really curious about this watering & frost.
Pardon my ignorance & thank you in advance for the info.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 5:10PM
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gillian_(z5 PA)

First let me say that this will only work for more hardy plants. I pulled all my pots of tender annuals into the garage. What I watered was perennials and some half-hardy annuals already in the ground. I did miss a few impatients still in 6-packs when I was pulling in the tender stuff. Water or not they turned to mush.
If you water a frosted plant before the sun hits it you can usually save it. Plants get damaged when the sun hits the ice crystals causing cell walls to burst. I have heard that the quicker thawing from morning sun causes damage. Think about when you defrost meat or something from the freezer...what do they tell you to do? Soak it in water to defrost. Frost also damages plants by the ice crystals drawing moisture out of the leaves dehydrating it, so a well watered plant has more water to spare, so to speak and will be less injured by dehydration. Also the moisture in the surrounding soil will release heat helping to protect the plant. At least that is my understanding.

I don't take such risks when I know it will be a hard frost. What we got the other night was very light. Most of my plants look pretty good right now. Whew! I certainly hope we are done with this frost business until Fall.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 8:23AM
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