With “Icemaggedon” hitting soon, and the cold weather officially upon us, it’s time to keep an eye out on protecting your plants from the freezing temperatures. We’ve asked noted landscape architect, Harold Leidner, to provide some insight and suggestions for protecting those plants from the cold temperatures.
Freeze Protection Methods
One of the essential freeze protection items that we install on all our projects is a rain and freeze sensor on the irrigation system. This sensor (which can be hard wired or wireless) activates once the temperature drops below 40 degrees and prevents the irrigation system from operating in cold temperatures and adding any water to the plants that may cause damage.
Another primary method of protection those plans is to use a frost protection fabric or freeze cloth over the top of the plants. This fabric, which can usually be found at any nursery or home improvement store, will help wick water away from the plants, provide an additional layer of protection and help prevent any ice from forming on the plants.
We typically use short wood stakes to ‘tent’ the frost cloth above the plants and also use landscape pins to anchor the fabric down so windy conditions don’t blow it away. If the cold temps sneak up on you and you’re in a pinch, a good old bed sheet will work as well. (Just don’t use the nice ones!)
Plants That Need Protection
Most plant varieties sold at nurseries and used in the Dallas area will be cold hardy for the climate. However, there are certain varieties of plants, usually tropicals, that will need a little extra protection.
Palms are one of the primary plants that we take care to protect from cold temperatures. Sago palms (Cycas revoluta) certainly are fragile to the cold and will need to be covered. Windmill Palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) are generally cold hardy, but the trunks can be wrapped with a blanket or frost protection cloth. Other plants that are susceptible to freezing are Oleander (Nerium oleander), Variegated Ginger (Alpina vittata) and the vine Fig Ivy (Ficus pumila). All of which could benefit from the protection of a freeze cloth.
We find annuals to be optional but some of our clients prefer that we also cover their newly planted winter seasonal color like Pansies and Cyclamen. Any containers or potted plants that are not connected to irrigation or drainage, we would suggest simply moving them into the garage to weather the frigid night time temperatures.
Miss those 100 degree days yet?
Need help preparing for freezing weather? Contact the talented staff at Harold Leidner Landscape Architects to guide you.