Brrr. Frost is expected to strike parts of the Coachella Valley Sunday night. If you don’t have outdoor plumbing or plants protected, be prepared. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will plummet to between 25-31 degrees on Sunday night and Monday morning. Monday night could also see frost pockets.
Frost and subfreezing temperatures can kill crops and garden plants, and cause pipes to freeze and burst. The weather service advises you to drain any in-ground sprinkler systems and to cover all pipes. Cover sensitive plants with frost blankets, old blankets or towels and bringpotted specimensinside.
Some plants are hardy while others are not, especially plants that were grown in warm climates like the desert or tropical jungle. Alex Washburn, shop manager at Dig It Gardens in Phoenix, says it’s important to think about where your plants came from before you decide what kind of care they require. Another desert area is hit by extreme temperatures.
Washburn stated that non-native aloe plant species and cacti have a higher chance of freezing to 37 to 32 degree temperatures. Washburn also stated that below 40 degrees is the ideal temperature for any plant material that’s been exposed to cold temperatures for the first time.
This week’s forecast for Coachella Valley is sunny and highs around 59° Sunday. Temperatures will gradually rise to 77° by Thursday. Lows will be between 25 and 50 degrees on Sunday night, and mid-40s to low 50s Wednesday through Friday.
Frost cloth, a lightweight and flexible fabric that allows airflow and light to penetrate the soil, is one way to shelter plants at this time of year. It can be purchased at local hardware stores and plant shops.
Washburn stated that a frost cloth can prevent colder temperatures from freezing plant cells, hardening off, and eventually killing them. This is especially true of more sensitive species.
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The University of Arizona recommends that you use frost cloth in the following four steps:
- Completely drape the plant all the way from the top to the ground.
- You must close any windows that could allow heat to escape. This will trap heat radiating from soil and create a humid environment around plant leaves. Anchoring your frost cloth can be done with pins, sandbags or bricks.
- To prevent damage to branches, leaves, or flowers, a frame will be ideal for your frostcloth.
- The cloth can be removed once the colder temperatures or frost have passed.
According to the University of Vermont’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, it is best to bring your plants indoors when evening temperatures drop below 45 degrees. You should pay particular attention to tropical potted plants. They will most likely be damaged by temperatures below 40°F, some even below 50°F.
Note the type of lighting your plants received outside. You can also try to replicate the lighting your plants get indoors by changing the way you place them around the house. You don’t have enough lighting? You may need a grow lamp. You should also check for pests before bringing your potted plants inside.
The indoor temperatures also change when it gets cold. Once your plants are inside, keep them 8-12 inches from your windows. Washburn stated that many older windows have only one pane and they can adapt to the temperature.
Keep your plants away from heat vents. Any hot, humid air blowing directly onto your leaves will quickly dehydrate them.
How to assess the damage done
Washburn says that if you don’t protect your plants they may not die immediately or completely, but they could be subject to tissue burn or bacteria growth.
Washburn stated, “Hot and Cold Stress introduces the possibility for some of these pathological factors to negatively affect the plant itself.” “But a lot is visual. Many people have an idea about what their plants should look like. However, if you put too much stress on your plants, it can cause significant tissue loss.
Here are some more ideas on what to do. Damaged grass or plants outdoorsFrom the University of Florida. They often recover with your help.
After a freeze, you should inspect the soil around your plants. If the soil is still frozen, it is worth watering the area. This will help to defrost the soil as well as provide moisture for your plants. Even injured plants require water. Don’t be too hard on drought-tolerant plants.California is still suffering from drought.
Do not fertilize. You could encourage new growth if you fertilize too early. It is better to wait until frost is gone before applying fertilizer. This will speed up recovery.
You should not prune cold-damaged trees right away. Although the dead foliage may look bad, it will protect plants from further injury. Once the temperatures have risen, you can assess the extent of damage by scraping the bark using your fingernail. The bark of cold-injured wood will turn black or brown underneath. To determine where to prune, wait for new growth to begin before pruning.
If plants like begonias or impatiens are damaged by cold, they may fall. To prevent fungal and bacterial problems from developing as they decay, it is best to cut down plants that are damaged by the cold.
Winter dormancy is when your lawn turns brown. Your lawn should recover and start producing new green growth by springtime.
However, your turf can be seriously damaged by hard freezes. If the temperature drops below 20 degrees suddenly (we are not there yet), your grass may be permanently damaged. Initial signs of wilting may be seen in the grass, but it will eventually turn to a brownish or white color. It can mat to ground and smell musty. If your grass does not recover, you might need to replace it with sod pieces or plugs.
Janet Wilson is Senior Environment Reporter for The Desert Sun. Janet also co-authors USA Today Climate Point. Register for free Here. She can be reached at JWilson@gannett.com or on Twitter@janetwilson66
You can connect with Arizona Republic Culture and Outdoors Reporter Shanti Lerner at email@example.com or on Twitter @ShantiLerner