Tips and Tasks  

We know what you’re thinking; all the tips you’ve been receiving from us lately have assumed that the warm weather is here to stay. But this weekend in the North Carolina Mountains proved that inclement weather is never too far. Although the snow was beautiful, you might be concerned as to how you are going to salvage your garden. Some of your trees might have even seen some small blooms peaking through the buds, and you don’t want to neglect those plants you worked so hard to cultivate, but that’s why we’re here with our tips.

Although we have encouraged pruning pretty heavily in past posts, after a frost you should avoid pruning. Yes, the leaves look dead, and yes they are in fact unsalvageable, but pruning is not the answer. In the event of a frost, some leaves are sure to be affected and probably die, but that doesn’t mean that the entire plant is a lost cause. If you prune the dead leaves immediately after a frost, then you make the plant vulnerable again because if another frost hits, it will kill more of the live plant that is left. Avoid pruning until you are sure that you’re in the clear in terms of cold weather.

The second major way to repair your garden after a frost is to continue watering it. Moist soil is actually less likely to freeze than dry soil, so in a way you are protecting your plants in the event of another frost by keeping the soil around them moist. You should spray your plants in the morning after the frost to rid the plant leaves of any remaining ice crystals. Allowing the crystals to melt throughout the day can cause extra damage to your plant.

In the event of another oncoming frost, here are some tips to preemptively protect your garden.

It’s helpful to pay attention to the forecast. That might sound like a basic tip, but if you are trying to cultivate a healthy garden and are not paying attention to what your local meteorologists are saying, then you’ve surrendered your first line of defense against freezing temperatures.

Avoid planting tender plants in low-lying areas. When cold air rolls in, it stays close to the ground and hangs around in dips in your yard, so if you have fragile plants attempting to grow, try not to plant them in an especially low-lying area. Be aware of how windy it is. Cold air won’t necessarily affect your plants one way or another, but the intensity of the wind can cause damage by pulling leaves or buds off of your plants. If necessary, provide wind protection, like turning a wheelbarrow upside down to cover plants. You can also cover your plants with woven fabrics, which tend to be better insulators than plastics or paper to protect newly planted plants.