You’ve seen ’em – blankets and sheets draped over plants and shrubs in local front yards. It’s an annual ritual as plant owners desperately try to protect their plants from the few truly cold days we have each winter.
Although South Texas winters typically aren’t severe, it’s always a good idea to prepare your landscape – just in case.
- The sun warms the soil during the day even in winter, but at night that same heat leaves the soil. Cold air falls; hot air rises. The goal is to trap the heat rising from the ground by ensuring covering makes contact with the soil surface all the way around. Avoid plastic because it cuts off oxygen to plants.
- Mulching is probably the best thing you can do to help guard against the cold. Lay down a bed about 2 inches deep. Check the soil once a month to make sure some moisture is getting into the ground. Well-watered soil absorbs more solar heat and can radiate warmth during the cold overnight hours.
- Plants in containers are more susceptible to cold because the soil can dry out quickly. Relocate them to a garage or storage area.
Your priorities for covering plants when it’s cold depends on the type of plant, age of the plant and the conditions to which it has adapted. If you have newly planted trees or shrubs or low-growing material, then these need attention first.
Here’s a quick tip: Think back to last year – whatever survived is probably in the clear this winter.