First Freeze! Protect your plants and trees before it's too late
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Whether you have a lone poinsettIa or a plethora of plants protecting them from a bitter cold blast can save you money. So we asked horticultural advisor Rodney White, from the Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery on Speedway, to show us the most popular plants that need extra care.
"Petunias and snap dragons need protection. You'll want to cover from a good cold air frost because they receive damage to the flower itself," says White.
Geraniums, however, fear the frost. "I personally feel that protecting them by putting them underneath a patio or some kind of overhang is better protection because in a good cold a good frost, they basically will melt," he said.
Another popular plant to protect this time of year, the poinsettia. "Most people like to have them around. They like to have them at the front door to welcome their guests. Do take them inside at night. even if we're only going to be in the 40's. Mid 40s, these guys pout. "
With desert vegetation all around us -- some cacti are vulnerable -- especially the columnar cactus. So rodney suggests putting a cap on it. "Get a paper cup and put it over the new growth, the top. It's only the new growth you need to be concerned about."
He adds, "If you do have new citrus trees, the young ones in containers, do make sure to protect those, especially the newer growth. Don't go and pick all the fruit thinking you're going to save the fruit because the fruits not ripe. Citrus has a very short shelf life."
Add tropical and sub-tropical plants to the list of plants that need protection. "Like hibiscus, do protect them. They're actually rather resilient. they will get damaged but they always come back," he said.
But some don't -- which is why White suggests either moving plants to a safer spot. "I personally feel that protecting them by putting them underneath a patio or some kind of overhang is better protection."
Or covering them with breathable material -- like sheets or newspapers. He doesn't recommend covering them with plastic because condensation builds and the moisture will freeze under the plastic and cause damage to plants and trees. He also warns homeowners not to let their plants become dry. "You want to make sure your plants are very well watered so their cells are really full. I t's much more protection - kind of like serotonin on the skin with the sun."