Weather often influences our landscapes, as rain and sun are key to growth in the spring, and the cold means less bloom and less color. Although temperatures in Florida are always much higher than other parts of the country, our tropical climate is not immune to the occasional freeze. Especially as we head into the coldest month of the year, the potential for a frost is high as ever. As a landscaper, homeowner, or property manager, this is important to keep in mind when thinking about the health of your landscape, especially in terms of protection from the cold. Frost can be harmful to plants, shrubs, and even your turf. At Taylor Anthony 365, we are all about precautions, preventative measures, and protecting what is yours. Here are actionable steps you can take to protect your landscaping from frost damage.
The most important step to preventing frost damage is to be aware of the potential for frost well in advance. As with anything else, the sooner preparation begins, the better the result. It is also important to be aware of the temperatures at which freeze and frost occur, and how this differs when referencing the air versus the ground. Frost begins to occur at 34 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, but this temperature can be artificially lowered during the nighttime when the ground is cooler than the air. Download a weather app, and make sure you know when frost is on the way. Cold injury is always a possibility when the temperature is low, frost or not.
Turn the Irrigation System Off
Aware that a frost may immediately be on the way, the last thing you want to do is water your landscape. This adds fuel to the fire, as this water will further frost damage, and freeze much easier. Your goal should be to keep your landscape as dry as possible during a freeze, but if you are aware of the weather, watering your landscape several days beforehand can be beneficial, as your material will retain the moisture in a healthy way through the frost. Wait until temperatures have risen back above freezing to again attempt watering, and make sure you do, as your plants will be thirsty after a freeze.
Insulate and Cover
The most sure-fire way to protect your landscape in case of frost is to cover up your at-risk plant material and prevent the frost from reaching its victim. Garden covers, blankets, and burlap can all be used to cover up plants in case of frost, as well as stones or bricks to hold down edges. Additionally, plants that are in containers can be brought inside, as shelter is the best protection. This shelter may even be a fence or border that you prop plants next to when cold is coming. Mulch is also a great option to insulate roots, with a 2 to 4-inch layer atop your garden beds doing the trick.
Remember, new plants will always need to be covered, as they are the most at risk for cold damage. Whatever the method, keeping your plant material out of the elements will be the most effective way to protect your landscape from frost damage.
If Frost Damage Occurs, Let it Be
On the off chance that frost damage begins to affect your landscape, make sure to stay away. Especially in terms of your turf, walking on frosted green material should be avoided, as blades or foliage will be brittle and eager to snap. Additionally, trying to manually prune or affect frosted foliage is a bad idea, as the damage can be furthered, and future growth stunted.
Commercial or Residential, Taylor Anthony is prepared to help you manage your landscape by providing the right solution for your situation, call us today at (904) 230-3386.