Protecting your fragile Ohio plants from frost

Protecting your fragile Ohio plants from frost

The Ohio weather has changed once more. We are having cooler days and colder nights. Those who have lived here for many years and love to garden knows what this means. It means that most of these nights will also have a chance for frost. This also means Ohioans need to protect their blooming and delicate flowers, plants and shrubs from this frost, as well as the cooler temperatures. What is the best way to do this?

The best way is to cover the plants that aren’t too big at sunset. What should you use to cover these plants?

First, steer away from the plastic coverings, unless this is your only choice. Plastic and vinyl coverings will protect the plants from the frost, however the plants won’t breathe. Plus, you will have to get the plastic and vinyl off the plants before the sun hits them in the morning.

Your best choice in coverings is fabric, such as cottons or linens, even a burlap bag will work. Many people will choose simple bed sheets to cover their plants. All of these will allow the plants to breathe. Plus, if you are busy in the mornings, you don’t have to worry about the sun hitting them. The sun rays won’t fry the plants that are covered with fabrics.

If you have small seedlings, you can also use a small flower pot or even a small paper cup to cover the seedling at night. Newspaper can also be used for small plants.  

Yes, the commercial coverings do work. However, they are very expensive. They can run as much as $12 per piece. Plus, they don’t work any better than your basic sheet.

The best time to cover your plants is at sunset. You can remove them the next day, any time the temperatures begin to warm. Plants, flowers and shrubs can withstand the cool temperatures of the day because the sun usually shines some.

One other thing you can do to protect the plants that are a little too big to cover, such as some of those bigger shrubs, is to water them whenever there is danger of frost. The soil can release more moisture into the air if it is wet. This will help warm the plant a bit.

How can you know if there is a risk of frost? All you have to do is check your local weather station. They are good at alerting their listeners of these conditions, ahead of time.