How to protect your plants during a cold snap
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As temperatures continue to drop, experts say it's even more important to protect your plants. Freezing temperatures this time of year can damage or kill them altogether.
The cold snap in February made plants even more fragile and susceptible to the cold, as they are still in the middle of regrowth and recovery.
The most important tip is to cover your plants. Horticulturist Tony Sarah of the Magic Garden Nursery said that people should stick to breathable materials. Blankets, bedsheets and burlaps can be used, but must come on and off the plant everyday. Plastics and tarps should be avoided, as they can keep the cold in damaging the plant even further. The best bet are frost blankets and frost domes, which allow sunlight to reach the covered plants.
"What's nice about frost blankets is tha tthese can stay for a week or two weeks at a time through rain, snow, no matter what you have," Sarah said.
Sarah said certain plants are more prone to frost damage, including hibiscus, bougainvillea, and geraniums. Citrus plants and trees also need to be covered, since the fruits can freeze easily. Other plants need to be brought indoors.
"A lot of people have ficus and lillies out in the porch and patio in the summertime. Yes, those need to go indoors in the winter," Sarah said.
Cacti, which are much heartier, simply require styrofoam caps for protection.
Sarah said that if it has been a long time since it has rained, it's a good idea to water your plants before a freeze, which helps them better weather the temperatures. He also recommends waiting until mid-March, after the frost danger, to trim your plants -- which ensures that their roots are protected through the winter.
"It's not pretty to look at in the winter, but as far as the plant's concerned, that's the best way to protect it from the cold," Sarah said.