When a Hard Freeze is Expected
It’s always scary to see an early freeze be an extremely cold one. Many parts of Texas face that Thursday night. Here are things I would do to be sure you won’t get caught with your plants down.
• Water all tender vegetation ahead of the freeze. Dry plants are much more vulnerable to damage by cold.
• Mulch tender plants. It might be banana plants that have frozen to the ground, or it could be sub-tropical plants like Mexican bush sage, trailing lantanas, or, farther north, Mexican mint marigolds. They’ll all benefit from having their root systems and lower stems packed in shredded tree leaves, compost or other mulching material.
• Cover even more tender plants. We all attempt to grow a few plants that we shouldn’t. I garden in rural Collin County (northeast of Dallas), and cast iron plants (aspidistras) aren’t reliable in our area. However, by covering them with frost cloth and weighting it securely to the ground, I’ve been able to pull them through even record cold for our area without any damage. I have my frost cloth cut and ready to put in place if I have to.
• Drain all hose-end sprinklers and put them into the garage.
• Disconnect hoses for all faucets outdoors. Drain the hoses to be sure no water is left to freeze inside them.
• If you have a greenhouse, be sure everything is functioning perfectly. Have a back-up heat source just in case.