We’re expecting a hard freeze tonight. In this area, a hard freeze is considered to be 4 or more hours with temperatures at or below 32 degrees. Some areas are predicted to have these temps for up to 11 hours tonight. Yikes!
Throughout our neighborhood and those nearby, I have seen covered plants in the middle of the day. Be sure to remove the coverings early in the day, even if you will need to re-cover them again that night.
The Don’ts are often more important than the Do’s, so I’m sharing the Don’ts first:
Don’t use plastic bags. Everywhere the plastic touches the plant, you will have freeze damage.
Don’t leave the plants covered the next day. Remove the coverings as soon as the sun shines on the plants. If left covered on a bright, sunny day, the plants will bake.
Do cover your tender plants as early in the evening as you can, in order to trap warm (okay, less cold) air underneath the covering. If plants are in the shade, go ahead and cover them before temperatures drop. It will be easier on you, too.
Do use cloth coverings or cardboard boxes. If you are expecting rain, forget the cloth coverings. The wet cloth will cling to the plant and freeze, sticking to the leaves.
There are such beautiful tropical plants here, and not all landscapers will tell customers which plants are not cold hardy, and should not be planted here. For example the Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) and the Robellini Palm, a.k.a., Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii).
Yes, those of you who know me, know I have Queen Palms in my front yard. We bought them before we knew any better. This area is full of them, so who knew? The guy who sold them to us, that’s who.
Good luck with your tender plants tonight. Now get out there and cover them as soon as the sun is off of them.