Cold weather in the garden - coping with frost - Otter Garden Centres
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Cold weather in the garden – coping with frost

February 5, 2018 Otter Blog No Comments
Frost photo by Echo Grid on Unsplash

We have had an extremely mild winter (so far!). But finally, the frosts have arrived. What should you be doing to make sure your garden survives the cold snap?

Don’t walk on frosted lawns – this can cause damage and leave permanent marks that you will have to address in warmer weather.

There are various ways of protecting plants:

  • Cover tender plants with fleece, using a frame if you wish, or simply blanketing the plant in a coat of fleece.
  • Any corms or bulbs can be covered with a mulch – use whatever is available to you, straw, manure, leaves from your leaf pile.
  • If you already have new shoots, cover these with straw or a bell cloche, if you have one. We have these instore if you would like to try them.
  • Even hardier evergreen plants like a mulch around the base of the plant. This keeps moisture in and stops it from freezing.
  • Hopefully you will already have taken any pot plants containing tender plants into the greenhouse or conservatory.
  • Outdoor containers, particularly terracotta, are prone to cracking in hard frosts. Pot feet are a popular option as these prevent the pot becoming waterlogged and the water then freezing. They can also be wrapped in fleece or a hessian wrap to protect rootballs.

Frost damage?

Most plants will recover from a certain amount of frost damage, so don’t panic!

  • Funnily enough, it is better to keep the plants out of the sun, as growth may be affected if the plant warms up quickly. Move them into the shade if you can or cover them in any material you have to hand.
  • Frosted leaves and stems can be cut back when the weather warms up. Plants will often rally and produce new shoots.
  • If you have been planting in the milder weather, keep an eye out for plants that have lifted above the surface. Make sure the roots are covered.
  • You can use fertiliser for damaged plants to encourage recovery, but this is best done once the frosts have gone.

If you have had losses in the garden with this frost, remember to be prepared for the next frosts! These can happen as late as April, and prevention is always better than cure.