How to Protect Plants from Frost
When the temperatures start dropping below 40 degrees, it is time to consider bringing in or covering cold-sensitive plants for protection from frost damage if possible because not all plants are created equal.
Ways to Protect Plants from Frost Damage
You can begin by purchasing tightknit blankets and comforters from thrift shops if you haven’t saved your old stained and damaged ones in plastic garbage bags for just such a purpose.
Plastic that comes in contact with leaves will transfer cold and cause damage, so unless you have a barrier between the plastic and the plant, only use it as a last resort knowing that the outer leaves and branches will probably be damaged. Materials such as Afghans that are loosely woven provide little protection from the cold, so think more of the wind being able to pass through.
Once you have your insulating material, it is time to apply it. If your plants are sturdy, you can tie it directly to branches with twine or cord.
If your plants are not sturdy, then it is time to get creative. For large plants, step ladders or hand carts work effectively; for small plants - chairs, lawn mowers, wheel barrows or even old signs can work. When tying, you may have to double up your sheets to get proper coverage and density.
For smaller plants you can cover with pots or buckets that have been made secure.
Also remember that along with the cold there is usually wind, so make sure light weight items are secure! Ladders can tip over, and blankets or sheets can blow off or come loose so consider using rebar (metal rods) to secure ladders, and bricks or rocks for extra weight on the blankets and buckets.
If your plants should receive cold damage, resist the urge to trim off the affected areas until your are absolutely sure there will be no more cold for the season as the dead areas will provide some insulation from future cold.