How to Protect Plants During Winter
Remember to keep a close eye on the weather forecast for sudden drops in temperature that could damage your plants. (Photo by Canva)
January and February often bring harsh winter temperatures to us in Mississippi. Sometimes cold snaps even come in March and early April! One sudden drop in the temperature can unfortunately damage many of your tender landscape plants. Make sure the freezing temperatures do not harm your plants by taking a few preventative measures:
- Move container plants indoors or cover them. Container plants are more susceptible to damage as the roots are above ground. If you must keep these plants outside, wrap the pots in plastic, burlap, or blankets and cover the tops to reduce heat loss.
- Apply a layer of mulch to the soil to help protect plants’ roots and reduce heat loss during freezing temperatures.
- Cover your plants with sheets or blankets to help keep heat in. Remember to remove coverings when the cold weather has passed!
There are also a few preventative measures you can take during planting season:
- Purchase plants that can tolerate the cold temperatures in your area. In Mississippi, there are four different USDA Cold Hardiness Zones. You can read more about them on the USDA website. When selecting plants, look on the tag to make sure they meet the minimum cold-hardy requirements for your area to prevent cold- temperature injuries.
- Place tender plants in the warmest areas of your yard. In general, the coldest areas are on the north parts of your property and the warmest are on the south. Tender plants will do best during cold temperatures if you plant them on the south side of your property, near your house, or next to larger plants.
- Fertilize your plants throughout the year to help them withstand the winter months. Plants that get proper nutrition can withstand temperature drops better than those that do not receive proper care. Healthy plants also can recover from damage better than those that have been neglected.
Remember to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. We all know how unpredictable Mississippi weather can be! If you want more info on how to protect your plants during a cold snap, check out Publication 2303, “Protecting Plants from Cold Temperatures.”
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