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to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

Posted by gottagarden z5 western NY (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 26, 12 at 8:45

On another post, someone included this great link to Cornell on Understanding Frost:

I'm copying this bit because I found it really helpful:

Irrigate before the frost � A moist soil can
hold four times more heat than a dry soil. It will
also conduct heat to the soil surface faster than
a dry soil, aiding in frost prevention. In a study
performed years ago, the air temperature
above a wet soil was 5 degrees F higher than
that above a dry soil and the difference was
maintained until 6 a.m. the next morning.
Thus, plants should be well watered the
evening before a frost.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

Great advice and explanation. Thanks GG.


RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

Was just speaking with Viktoria Serafin in FB. She said she may lose her entire collection tonight as temperatures are forecast to go down to 25 degrees tonight. I shared with her the post above but she said it takes almost two days to water all the hostas and a generator is used to pump water for that purpose and isn't set up for the season yet. This weather is really putting a lot of us to the test.


RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

Well just got the beds watered down and and a few of the more rare hostas covered. I also covered Empress Wu as she is about 2.5 feet tall. The temperature right now is 47 degrees and forecast is for 28, 30 and 27 for the next three nights. I think it was Monday night this week the temperature went down to 31 degrees and all the hostas had frost on the foliage. Not a single plant was damaged. We had just gone through the big rain storm so the ground was quite wet so I'm thinking wet soil holds more heat than dry. The next three nights will be a true test of the Cornell study.


RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

I know you don't think we know about freezes in Texas, but we really get extreme temps, both high and low. Watering is what all the gardening experts tell us to do before a bad cold front. Also, floating row cover will give you a few degrees. It's lightweight, easy to put out and take up, reusable and gives you about 4 degrees protection. It's not expensive, either. The exact name of the roll I have is Fast Start seed and plant blanket.


RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

Oh no I'm aware that you get frost and freezes in parts of Texas. If it wasn't for the super warmth we had in March most of us wouldn't be having these problems. I'm just going to take my chances with what I've done and a bunch of prayers. I had temps Monday night go down to 31 degrees and there was frost on all the hostas and not one was damaged so either they have hardened off a bit and/or the wet soil did help. I do appreciate the help but think they'll be ok.


RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

With this roller coaster weather we've been having, some of my hostas look like crap already. On week its in the 80s with nights in the 40s, next week frost, next week nice, 2 days it snows a foot, next day it all melts and is chilly. Now freeze warnings. So what happens now? I don't have time to cover them all or anything to do it with. Will they look like crap all season now? Some of the ones that were coming up early and got hit by frost seem stuck from unraveling? Grrr.....

I might cover a few prized ones with buckets but the rest will have to fend for themselves.

RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

BKay, winter 2010 I lost many of my nice tropicals because we had below freezing temps for 14 days in a row. Not nice. Then this 2011 winter, we barely had any days below freezing. It is very hard to know what will happen next.

However, I think I'll prepare for it by getting the Fast Start seed and plant blankets to have on hand next winter.
Knowing what they are shaped like, measurements etc, I can sort of arrange the hosta to fit beneath them.

Have you ever had a hosta NOT go dormant?

RE: to protect against frost / freeze - WATER

I do not have enough pots, not like Frank. Smaller pots do not cover large hostas, so I used black plastic bags around large hostas. But lightweight blankets is the answer. So since we have those roller coaster springs, I better buy several spun blankets for next year. I should have learned from 2 years ago when we had several freezes in a row starting May 10, but did not.

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