Frost protection: How to prevent plants being ‘killed overnight’ – ‘now is the time’

Gardening tips: How to layer bulbs in a pot

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Light frost typically won’t cause any damage to outdoor plants. However, a hard frost, which typically arrives between December and February, can actually kill plants. This is because it can cause major damage to the cell walls as well as causing dehydration.

Luckily, there are steps which gardeners can take to help prevent this happening.

Experts at Baby Bio® said: “With the temperature finally taking a turn for the chilly, we can expect the first frost of the winter to appear imminently, so now is the time to take some simple steps to protect your plants.

“Of course, the level of protection your plants need will depend on the species and location.

“Some tender plants can be killed overnight, while hardier plants can survive a few frosts.

“Generally, any temperature below -2 degrees is cold enough to kill even the hardiest plants.

“If you have tender plant species such as dahlias, fuschia and begonias, it is widely recommended to move them indoors if possible to a cool, frost-free area like a porch, conservatory or greenhouse throughout the winter.

“Of course, that may not be possible for well-established plants, so instead provide insulation by wrapping a few layers of fleece or bubble wrap around the container itself.”

Bubble wrap is a cheap insulation material that can help the plants get through winter.

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It is advised to take it off once the temperatures start rising again.

What’s more, bubble wrap or fleece can also help pots survive winter.

Terracotta pots are susceptible to cracking through the winter months, meaning they also need extra protection.

The experts added: “Raise pots off the ground where possible to avoid taking on the cold temperature off the ground.

“You can also wrap plants in materials like hessian and polystyrene to insulate and protect them from the elements.

“Just make sure they are finished with a waterproofing covering to avoid water getting underneath the wrap, as this can cause frost to set in.

“Heavily mulching around the roots of the plant is another great option for plants in the ground.

“Use compost, bark chipping or any organic materials to prevent the ground from freezing over and damaging root systems.”

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Mulching also helps to prevent weeds from growing as well as protecting the plant during winter.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), mulches need to be between five centimetres and seven centimetres thick.

The RHS said: “If laid correctly there is generally no problem with mulches. However, if they are in direct contact with the stems of trees or specimen shrubs they can cause the stem to soften, making it vulnerable to diseases.

“To save water and suppress weeds, the type of organic material you choose is less important than putting on a thick enough layer.

“Thicker layers will block sunlight from weeds, insulate the soil better and reduce the amount of water evaporating.”

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