Whether you’re an avid gardener or beginner, spring represents one of the biggest challenges within the garden. From frost, root damage and frost cracks on bark to protecting tender new growth from harm due to the cold, there are several severe effects due to the drop in temperature. Not forgetting, ensuring your gardening equipment is kept in tip top condition too. Carrying out proper frost protection will protect your plants and tools throughout spring.
Chances of Frost This Spring
It’s important to monitor the threat of frost conditions via weather reports on either TV, radio and online, in early spring. That way, when expected cold spells are predicted and frost warnings are announced, it gives you an opportunity to prepare your garden and carry out frost protection. If the weather forecast reveals a cold and clear night with low humidity, following a windless, chilly afternoon, then a frost is most likely going to set. It’s also important not to be fooled by ‘warmer’ spring days as quite often evening temperatures can drop quickly and sharply.
Another recommendation is to regularly check the temperature at ground level near any plants to see how cold their living condition is and whether or not you need to do something to enhance it.
How to Protect Plants from Late Spring Frost
There are a number of simple yet effective ways to protect plants from late spring frost and help reduce frost impact. We have added a few effective ways to help you:
If frost is predicated, it’s imperative to cover tender plants and newly planted perennials – so anything with a sensitive new growth and flower bed. Best applied in the late afternoon, covering your plants traps the heat giving you anything from 2 to 5 degrees protection. Simply, lay the cover over the plants or for even greater shielding, support it with stakes (a better option if hard freeze is expected).
Although we would recommend a woven fabric due to it being a better insulator, any material can be used to cover your plants. A good suggestion is the Planket Frost Protection Cover, however some gardeners tend to use tablecloths or old bed sheets which are proven to be as efficient.
Protect container plantings
For those needing to cover container plantings, it’s best to shelter them in an unheated location such as a shed, garage or porch. It’s important not to warm them up or bring them indoors if you do forget to protect them as this sudden change in temperature could result in further damage.
Avoid Frost Pockets
Frost pockets are essentially ‘dips’ in the ground. The cold air sinks into these pockets and it simply can’t get out. Plants located in these areas ultimately suffer frost damage and it’s best to avoid sowing seeds and bedding new pants in these lower places within your garden.
Warm Plants With Water Jugs
Firstly, fill plastic jugs with water and place them in the sun allowing them to soak up the heat during the day. When it comes to early evening, place these jugs around the plants and then place your cover over them. The water in the jugs will lose heat at a slower rate than the soil and the air, and therefore the warmth it emits will help protect your plants from the chill.
Water Before a Frost
It may sound like an odd step to take before a frost is due, but watering around plants the night before a spring frost can protect them from freezing. The wet soil during the night will release moisture into the air which therefore raises the temperature and keeps the plants warmer and more protected.
Can I Plant Spring Bulbs During a Frost?
Spring flowering bulbs such as Tulips, Daffodils, Fritillaria (and many more!) can be planted throughout September, October and November. They will perform well, even if you decided to plant later on in December, however the trick and necessary step to take is to get them bedded in before the risk of frost. This is important as they need to start producing roots – after rooting they are quite frost tolerant.
How to Protect Garden Tools from Frost
Did you know gardening tools and equipment can actually last a lifetime if the necessary steps are taken to keep them rust-free and protected from frost?
Regular cleaning and maintenance, protecting your gardening tools using a multi-purpose lubricant such as WD-40®, will extend their working life. This is particularly important for those tools that are frequently used in the garden.
WD-40 works effectively on shovels, sprinklers heads, rakes, wheelbarrows, mower blades, clippers – and much more! It will form a shield that not only prevents grass debris from sticking but also safeguards from the unwanted elements. Ultimately, providing your longer-lasting results without the costly repairs or expense of purchasing new tools. The unique formula acts as a rust preventative and cleaner in one. What’s more, WD-40 is often used by gardeners as a protective coat for tools before storing them away.
So, there you have it, everything you need to know to keep your garden frost-free this Spring. We hope you find that WD-40 is helpful whatever the weather – come rain, shine or even snow! For even more surprising ways that WD-40 can help you around your home and garden this Spring check out our blog! Whether you are still battling the cold with How to De-Ice a Car or looking ahead to the summer heat in How to Clean a BBQ, there’s a range of topics to explore.