Saturday, February 2, 2013

Jack Frost Nipping at Your Nolina...

Frost damaged mango tree.
The recent spate of frost has left many local gardeners tropical and semitropical plants looking dismal, decrepit, and destroyed. But now is not the time to clean house and start over. Many times frost damage is far worse looking than it actually is, and many plants can recover from frost damage if you take some simple steps and refrain from taking others. Here is a list:
Do not prune any frost damage off of your plants until all danger of additional frost has past. The dead and damaged tissue of a frost damaged plant can act as an insulator, protecting the living tissue beneath from further frost damage.

Frost cloth like this is specially designed to keep frost off of the plant while allowing air to flow through. 

Purchase "Frost Cloth" and cover your susceptible plants (including already damaged ones) when frost is predicted.

Spray 'Cloud Cover' or a similar anti-transpirent on your plants. These compounds prevent the plant from drying out when exposed to frost. They are harmless to the plant and give you an extra layer of protection besides the the frost cloth.

Anti-transpirants like 'Cloud Cover' help protect the plant by plugging stomata, the small holes in the leaves and stems of plants, and thus preventing the plant from drying out as the result of frost.

The above actions should help minimize frost damage until all danger of frost has past (here usually mid-March). After that period is over you may need to re-assess what you are planting and where you are planting it.

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