MORRIS COUNTY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Freeze alerts go into effect for parts of the Tri-State area Wednesday night as the coldest air of the season moves in.
When temperatures drop this low it can seriously damage or kill plants, but there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent it, reports CBS2’s Elise Finch.
David and Julia Miller of New Providence are dedicated home gardeners, tending to their plants spring, summer and fall.
This week they’re shopping specifically for chrysanthemums, a plant that can withstand colder temperatures.
When temperatures drop so low that frost is expected or a hard freeze that could kill sensitive vegetation and end the growing season, they’ve been known to go to great lengths to protect their garden.
“You can put bamboo stakes and put burlap around it and lay it gently over the shrubs too,” said Julia
“I would use a camping stove and it would put out a good deal of heat,” said David.
Experts say the easiest thing you can do to protect your pretty fall plants on a very cold night is simply cover them.
“Don’t use plastic, don’t use a material the frost can get through easily,” said Kevin Beneduce of Great Swamp Greenhouses. “Basically an old bed sheet or an old table cloth is good. It has to be able to breathe through. So even though it seems like a bed sheet might be too thin it provides a small layer of insulation.”
Beneduce is the manager of his greenhouses in Gillette, N.J. He says no matter what you use, make sure the entire plant is covered and the material you used is tucked in so it doesn’t get blow off.
If you don’t cover your plants at night, then water them the next morning.
“Just get out before the sun comes up and just with a normal garden hose kind of water off the frost,” he said. “It’ll basically help the plant acclimate itself to the temperature change of the sun coming up a lot easier. When the sun comes up, the cells just can’t take that temperature change so quickly so the cells in the plant rupture.”
Summer plants that are still in bloom and others that specifically flower in the fall are most effected by frost and freezing temps. Those conditions are also damaging for non-flowering outdoor house plants and even the pumpkins people decorate with.
Frost destroys the cells on the outside and makes them rot faster.
Experts say another way enjoy your garden without worrying about cold temps is to plant things like kale and cabbage. They turn wonderful shades of green and they’re more hearty against the cold than flowering plants.