Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Protect People, Pets, Plants, and Pipes

I am sure you know what to do to protect your people, pets, and pipes from tonights freezing temps -  but there are always questions in deep south Texas about what to do with our cold tender plants.    
If they’re in containers, move the pots up against your home  - or if possible, move them to an inside corner.   The south side of the house is better than the north side too.   Water the plant well and cover with an old blanket.   You will not get a warming greenhouse effect unless the blanket goes all the way to the ground and stays there.   Use pots, stones, or patio furniture to hold the blanket down.     Of course, you can always move your plants inside your home or your garage.    But I am taking the easy route and hoping that the freezing temperatures don't last more than 2 or 3 hours.   
Do you have tropicals planted in the ground?    Expect leaf burn at the least.   Our mango trees are crispy from our freeze two weeks ago.   I am hoping that the ground remained warm enough that the roots (and thus, the plant) did not freeze.    You can increase your chances at saving a plant by wrapping the trunk with cardboard or a blanket.    
There are special freeze blankets that you may find in garden centers or big box stores.   I saw that Gills Landscape Nursery in Corpus Christi has some in stock but I personally don't know about any in the Rio Grande Valley.  
Succulents are full of water so they need to be protected.   Freezing temps will cause all that water in them to expand and bust the plant cells.    I guess this is why they often turn to mush after a freeze.   I have taken cuttings of my favorite succulents that I can plant later.
It is sleeting in some areas right now.    Ice on plant leaves is not necessarily a bad thing.   It will act to incilate the plant.   I don't understand the why - but that is what I have always read.   If it remains cloudy tomorrow while that ice melts, there won't even be a frost effect.   Plants get frosted when they have an ice covering that the sun shines on.  
 It snowed in Harlingen in December, which is a super-rare occurance.    No freeze, but snow.   I didn't see any plant that was damage by the snow - but have seen some damages by our very slight freeze earlier this month.

Stay safe!

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