April 14, 2014

Protecting Plants from a Hard Freeze

Now WHAT have we done to deserve this...a record low hard freeze forecast for tonight...and it is SNOWING as I type this.

Goodbye azaleas and tulips and hydrangea buds and new tender foliage. I've covered what I can with pots and dry cleaner bags and prayers and incantations...

I've brought in what I can... that I can lift and cart and move and relocate. 

 I've taken a gazillion pictures of every angle and light condition of every bloom...

 and leaf and bud and branch to record what may be destroyed by tomorrow morning.

And now I just hold hold my breath and wait...and hope...that the weatherman is wrong, that we will miss it by just a few miles or a few degrees or a few minutes. 

The range of possible scenarios looks something like this:

TemperatureTypeEffect on Plants
Down to 28° F for a couple of hoursLight Frost,
Light Freeze
Usually only harms very tender plants. Ice forms only on the outside of the plant.
25-28° F for several hoursHard Frost,
Killing Frost,
Moderate Freeze
Damages foliage and blossoms. Ice forms inside the plant, causing plant cells to burst. Will kill back root-hardy perennials and damage crops.
Below 25° F for several hoursSevere freezeCauses damage to many plants, mostly through desiccation (drying).

I am obviously rooting for outcome #1 on this chart from Todays Homeowner (here). The rain yesterday will help....as will the light snowfall moisture today.
Mother Nature is at the control switch here. One can only do so much to protect a garden. The images here evidence of what I have at stake...at least for the short term...

the coming days and perhaps weeks...the perennials and trees that will have
to start over...and those that will be lost until next spring rolls around.

It is, after all, nearly impossible...

                                                     to cover...

an entire landscape.


  1. Linda, I hope and pray it's only for an hour or two. Let's hope this cloud cover holds. Your garden is lovely. Sharing your link on FB.~~Dee

  2. I am so glad we have a visual record of your stunning garden. I could cry looking at it!

  3. OMG, LInda, found your blog via Dee Nash. Your tulips and phlox are breathtaking!! I especially congratulate you on the tulips, as I know how hard they can be to grow in OKC. I was out putting tube socks- literally- on my iris buds, boxes over the hostas and small hydrangeas. Had nothing to cover the peonies- we shall see what happens.
    Thanks for the info and for sharing your gorgeous pictures.

  4. Janet, how did your garden fare?! I dodged the frozen bullet here, but my heart breaks thinking of your iris buds et al! Couldn't help but chuckle at the tube socks. We gardeners are crazy aren't we???


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