Protecting plants in freezing temperatures

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing Tuesday morning, and you may need to cover your plants.

Julie McConnell demonstrates how to cover plants.(WJHG/WECP)

"Your goal is to trap the heat coming up from the soil, and not to put any weight on the plant, and not to have any materials that are laying against the foliage." said Julie McConnell, the Horticulture Agent at UF/IFAS Extension.

McConnell demonstrated how to cover plants and properly protect them.

She explained saying "I took something I just had around, which is just a tomato cage that I flipped upside down, you could put stakes in the ground, or anything that is going to be sturdy, I've weighted it down with some bricks, and then just a simple, extra bed sheet that was in the house, that I can just wrap around it, and what I'm doing there is just giving it a little bit of a windbreak, and I'm not letting it lay on the foliage."

If you follow those guidelines, your plants should survive the cold temperatures, but you need to take one more important step to prevent damage.

McConnell said "We also need to make sure we uncover them, when the sun comes out, and it's warming up, we don't want them in that position where it's trapping all that heat because you are kind of creating a mini greenhouse environment, which you can have some heat damage."

There is another way to add a little bit of heat to the plants, and it's pretty festive.

"With some of our plants we can get a little heat generated from Christmas lights, it's not a whole lot, and so again you would still want to cover and make sure you aren't covering the foliage, but that is something you can do to try and just aid that little bit of heat that might be coming off of the ground" McConnell said.

Also remember, plants that are in pots can also be moved close to the building to block the wind.

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