Protecting Plants From Frost - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Protecting Plants From Frost

Parts of Texoma are under a Frost Advisory for the first time this Autumn. Atmospheric conditions are right for it to form. Skywarn 6 Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Ben Walnick says it has to do with moisture content in the air. "Dewpoint measures the amount of moisture in the air and if the dewpoint falls below the temperature and that's below freezing, you'll see frost form on surfaces - especially surfaces that become more cold more quickly - like plants and cars," he said.

To protect your plants, James Jenkins of Smith's Gardentown says moisture and cover are key. "A lot of times its good to cover them with a light cloth or a frost cloth protection plant, and make sure they are wet or moist when they go into a freeze or a frost," he said.

The type of cover you choose is critical. "The worst thing you can do is cover them with plastic... Plastic conducts the cold in and holds it there, makes it colder inside the cover than the outside temperatures," he said.

Temperatures, though, can be deceiving. Walnick says the official air temperature may be several degrees higher than what the plants experience. "Air temperatures may be above freezing at 6 feet where it is measured, but down towards the ground the air can be much colder because the heat will be lost first from the ground, because cold air sinks,", he explained.

There are certain plants that are more vulnerable to frost. Jenkins says flowering annuals are most at-risk. "Begonias and Periwinkles and Impatients and things like that are a high moisture content plants and a light frost will actually burn them heavily and kill them.. The most important thing is if you have some real tender plants like your Begonias and Xenias and Marigolds and things like that is a frost blanket or even a light sheet or even paper to cover them with and that will keep the frost from touching them," said Jenkins.

Jenkins says native landscaping plants and varieties of Holly are quite hearty. When preparing a flower bed, he suggests using mulch. It will act as a buffer for both moisture and temperature and protect the plants' roots.

However, don't expect any of these tips to work all Winter. Jenkins says once the ground freezes, the plants don't have a chance. "As the ground gets colder and it freezes and it kills them and they are gone," he said.

To track the Frost Advisory or any other weather conditions, click on the Weather section above.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6

 

 

 One of the biggest impacts frost can have is on plant life.

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