Don't give up on your frozen plants: Tips for recovery

Spring. It is a time of awakening in nature, as the sun grows warmer with each passing day. And who would expect cold days or nights? 
However, the reality is that frost can return unexpectedly at any time, wreaking havoc on the plants in your garden. 
In this article, we'll discuss precautions and ways to save your plants from the consequences of unexpected frosts.

How do you know if a frost will be on your plot?

Checking the weather forecast is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to determine the weather. While this is true, it's important to note that meteorologists predict weather patterns for a general area, and it may not always be accurate for your specific plot. Here are the way to find out if your property will experience frost overnight:
Frost is more likely to occur if there's a sharp drop in temperature in the evening after a hot day, and the sky is clear, and the air is windless, and dry. However, if the wind picks up, clouds appear in the sky, and the grass is covered with dew by evening, then it's less likely that there will be frost at night. 
Note: This method is not entirely reliable and should only be considered if the forecast doesn't predict frost, but the signs suggest otherwise.

Which plants to protect?

To protect your garden from frost, it's important to prioritize the safety of certain plants like roses, salvias, and annuals. Young seedlings are also vulnerable and should not be planted outdoors until the threat of frost has passed. 

It's worth noting that plants are sensitive to frost depending on their stage of growth. Here are some general temperature guidelines for plant growth stages and damaging temperatures:
  • Leaf buds are susceptible to frost at 30°F (-1°C);
  • Opened leaf buds will die at 25°F (-3,5°C);
  • Flower buds at 26.5°F (-3°C);
  • Blooming flowers at 28°F (-2°C);
  • End of flowering at 29°F (-1,5°C).
Of course, these are only approximate numbers. In practice, the extent of damage can vary greatly depending on the duration of exposure, and each case should be considered individually.

How to protect plants from frost?

A common and simple method to protect plants from frost is by using a covering material to create mini-greenhouses. Materials like polyethylene film, spunbond, glass bottles, cut plastic bottles, thick paper covers, and more can be used for this purpose. 

Note: When covering the plant, you should avoid the material coming into contact with the leaves.

Mulching is another effective way to protect plants, especially for vegetable crops. After watering the plants in the evening, spread a layer of straw, compost, or dry grass over the beds. Organic mulch helps reduce soil temperature and increase moisture levels on the soil surface. Combining this method with a protective covering will offer even greater protection for your plants, even against severe frosts.

What to do if the plant has been exposed to frost?

Saving frozen plants is not always possible, as the level of damage depends on factors such as temperature and duration of exposure. However, if the frost was mild and brief, there are steps you can take to try to save your greenery. Here's what to do:
First, use a sharp, sterile tool to carefully trim away any dead tissue. This includes parts that are blackened, discolored, stained, damaged, cracked, or softened. Cut back to living tissue to prevent disease from spreading to healthy parts of the plant.

Next, treat the plant with a growth stimulant and other anti-stress or strengthening products to help it recover from the trauma.
Loosen the soil around the plant and apply a complex mineral or nitrogen fertilizer, followed by a layer of compost as mulch. If the roots are undamaged, the plant should start to recover soon.
Note: Do not use warm water to water a frozen plant as this can further stress it. The water should be cold.

If the weather is sunny, protect the plant from direct sunlight for a few days after the injury. Water the plant generously and fertilize it with nitrogen fertilizer again after 2-3 weeks.

What you can't do with a frozen plant?

To avoid further harm to your frozen plant, there are a few things you should avoid doing. 
Firstly, do not water the plant with warm water, do not move it to a warm location or try to create warm conditions. Sudden changes in temperature can be detrimental to the plant's health. 
Secondly, do not attempt to knock down any ice that may have formed on the plant as this could cause further damage and potentially kill the plant.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that prevention is the key to protecting your plants from frost. Taking measures can help prevent damage. However, if your plants do become frozen, it is not always too late to save them. With proper care and attention, many plants can recover from frost damage. By following the tips outlined in this article and paying close attention to the needs of your plants, you can help ensure that they stay healthy and thrive.
If you still have questions about your plants' health or treatment, don't hesitate to ask our AI-Assistant and scan your plant's health with the Plant Doctor. And we, the PLNT team, wish your plants good health! 💚