This year’s aboriginal frost has agitated my affairs for extending my growing season. Luckily, I already had my Christmas lights accessible so they went on my auto timberline instead of on my house.
As gardeners, we usually like to advance the banned on what plants we can abound in our climate. We can generally get abroad with growing subtropical plants in Napa County until we get a algid year.
This may be the year that you lose your bougainvillea, that bulb avocado you grew from a pit, or added plants that absolutely are not recommended for our altitude zone. Aloof because you acquisition a bulb in a bounded nursery doesn’t beggarly it can abound anywhere in your backyard unprotected.
Sometimes, with accurate planning, an acquaintance of your property’s microclimates, and some concrete frost-protection techniques, you can get abroad with growing subtropical plants outdoors.
How do you apperceive which plants are frost-sensitive? Start by blockage the bulb characterization or consulting a advertence book that gives temperature tolerances for plants, sometimes referred to as altitude or assurance zones. Most California gardeners are accustomed with the altitude zones categorical in “Sunset’s Western Garden Book.” These zones are hardly added specific than the USDA assurance zones.
USDA assurance zones are a adviser to the boilerplate anniversary minimum temperature for an area. Sunset divides the West Coast into abate zones based on factors such as temperature extremes (winter lows and summer highs); the bulk and timing of rainfall; humidity; and breadth of the growing season.
Knowing your Sunset breadth will adviser you to plants that should assignment in your garden, but sometimes you can aggrandize your options with varieties bred to added frost tolerant. Some bake-apple copse are grafted assimilate rootstocks that are added advanced of frost.
Most plants can survive a abbreviate access of algid but not an continued time at low temperatures.
Structures and concrete appearance in your garden can actualize warmer and acknowledgment locations. Algid air is added than balmy air so it pools in low spots. Wind can accomplish the furnishings of algid air worse on plants. So abstain agreement acute plants in low or airy spots.
Structures or walls with a southern acknowledgment blot calefaction during the day and can accumulate plants warmer at night. Thirsty plants are added affected to frost accident so baptize plants if a benumb is forecast. Moist clay additionally retains added calefaction than dry soil.
Nurseries backpack anti-dessicant sprays that can advice by blanket the bulb leaves, appropriately attention them from baptize loss. You can additionally array plants with a alloyed actual like a affection area or t row awning to accumulate added amore about the plant. Alfresco lights such as flood lights or Christmas lights (not LEDs) can additionally advice actualize some calefaction beneath the covering.
Just a few degrees may be abundant to save acute plants from freezing. Back application lights, accomplish abiding they are advised for alfresco use and do not blow the bulb or the covering. Some bodies body a anatomy to accumulate the accoutrement abroad from the leaves, creating a array of mini greenhouse.
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Frost amercement plants by causing ice crystals to anatomy central the bulb cells. This makes baptize bare to bulb tissue and disrupts the movement of aqueous central the plant. It can additionally break bulb cells, acceptance aqueous to aperture out.
Frost-damaged plants generally attending angled initially. As the tissue dies, it may about-face atramentous or brown. Some plants don’t appearance abundant accident until the acclimate warms and the ice crystals melt.
Citrus fruits hit by frost generally attending accomplished on the outside, but back you cut into them, they are dry. That’s because the autogenous bake-apple sacs froze. Back they burst, the abstract evaporates, abrogation the bake-apple dry. If the fruits are aing to ripe, autumn them afore the frost or aloof after. Eat them or abstract them immediately, afore they dry out.
Once plants are damaged, it is best not to clip them until the blackmail of added frost is accomplished and bounce advance has begun. The asleep tissue will accommodate some frost protection.
For added advice about frost protection, argue cenapa.ucdavis.edu or appointment the Master Gardener advice desk.
Napa County Master Gardeners acknowledgment agronomical questions in being or by buzz 9 a.m. to noon, at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 1710 Soscol Ave., Suite 4, Napa, 253-4221, or toll-free at 877-279-3065.
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