How to protect your garden from frost
Frost can be devestating to our gardens if we don’t take the correct measures to protect the plant life and lawn turf. The conditions that cause frost are common during the winter, but the changeable weather in autumn can also produce frosts and freezes which can cause lasting damage.
Frost is formed when water vapour changes from its gaseous form into a solid after being exposed to temperatures below its freezing point. This is damaging to plants because the water in the plant cells turns into ice crystals and disrupts the natural flow of fluids within the plant tissues.
Thankfully there are plenty of ways to protect our gardens and lawn turf when the frost comes which we will describe below, but first we need to know when to expect it.
How to Predict a Frost
Obviously keeping an eye on the weather forecast will be useful, but we can also pay attention to certain environmental conditions that often lead to a frost.
The number one factor to pay attention to is the temperature, and especially so when there is moisture in the air such as mist or fog or when dew is formed overnight. These conditions are ideal for the formation of ice crystals.
Clear skies are another indicator, as the lack of insulating clouds allows heat to escape into the atmosphere. A lack of wind will also help produce a frost, as calmer conditions with little low air movement stops the warmer currents from being distributed over the topsoil where plants are growing.
This danger is easily avoided for potted plants which can be brought inside or placed into a greenhouse, but there are plenty of other measures you can take to protect the entire garden too.
Water Plants in the Afternoon
Moist soil will have an insulating effect so long as the watering occurs early in the afternoon when the temperatures are relatively warm. The soil of the beds and lawn turf will then radiate heat upward during the night to counteract the formation of ice crystals during a frost.
Use Mulch to Protect Beds
A thick layer of mulch like bark chippings laid over the topsoil will help protect the soil and grass plants growing there from the sudden swing in temperatures that occur during a frost.
A mulch of bark chippings creates a good barrier against the frosty conditions, though do be sure to leave an opening of around 3 to 5cm around the stalks of plants to allow the warmth of the soil to travel up through the plant cells.
There are various devices you can use to cover up plants and protect them from the moisture in the air that will become the ice crystals of frost.
Smaller individual plants can be covered by a plastic or glass dome that will keep them warm during a cold snap. The standard 1 or 2-litre fizzy pop bottles cut in half will serve this function if something more aesthetically pleasing isn’t available. In a pinch, you can also use the likes of empty flower pots or an upside down bucket.
Larger group of plants will be better served by being collectively covered with a sheet of fabric such as landscape fabric to create a tent-like structure.
If you require gardening products such as topsoil, seeds for grass plants, bark chippings or lawn turf, then contact Springbridge via our website or call today on 0845 370 1921 for more information.