En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 15, 2014

From: Easley, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Watering
Title: Protection for plants against a Spring freeze from Easley SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there anything we can do to protect our beautiful spring gardens from the freeze tonight? (April 15, 2014)

ANSWER:

We found many websites on this subject, and selected this one from The University of Georgia Agricultual and Environmental Sciences Department, because that is closer to South Carolina than some of the sites we visited. To begin with, weird weather or not, an overnight freeze in the middle of April is not going to last long, at least not in the Southern United States. The main problem with freezing temperatures when plants are already up and actively growing is that if the roots are frozen, it will cut off the water supply to the leaves and the plant will die. If the plants you are worried about are in pots, and especially hanging baskets, the roots are more exposed and we suggest you bring them in-into the kitchen or a garage. If that is not possible, put them on the ground and pile mulch or even dirt up around the plant roots. Just a degree or two of protection will probably save the plant. Water the container plants before you heap the mulch, etc. around them.

For actively growing plants in the ground, remember they have the best insulation there is, the Earth. Only very cold locations in North America are subject to freezing of the soil, and that only in protracted cold weather. However, just as you did the container plants, it would be a good idea to water them. Not a soaking, but just a nice sprinkle, a drink of water before the sun goes down. We don't recommend putting plastic or other sorts of freeze covers on those plants because they can break fragile stems and if you don't get them off quickly, they will be cut off from the sun, which they will need on the morning after a cold night.

Here is a previous Smarty Plants answer on protection of the roots of woody plants.

 

More Watering Questions

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
view the full question and answer

Leaf browning on blackfoot daisy in Arizona
August 26, 2008 - Blackfoot daisy plant was doing great; then, in one day, it turned brown like it had no water. Have a watering system in place which waters once a day for one hour 1/2 gallon a hour.
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Watering newly planted woodland plants in VA
June 12, 2011 - How frequently should newly planted, native plants, growing in wooded areas be watered? Is it better to not water at all than to use sprinklers in which case the water rarely saturates the leaf...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of hydrophobic soil in Austin, TX.
July 13, 2011 - I believe I have an area in my garden with “hydrophobic soil”: no matter how much or how slowly I water, it just beads up and rolls off and the soil beneath remains cement dry and powdery. In my readi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center