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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
view the full question and answer

Arizona ash tree with brown leaf tips in Las Vegas NV
August 01, 2010 - We've had an Arizona Ash Tree in our yard for over 7 years it was doing fine until last summer, the tree seems to be struggling with the heat, its leaves look like they are burning up and turning bro...
view the full question and answer

Need help with Wheeler's Dwarf Pittosporum
September 02, 2015 - We have about five Dwarf Wheeler Pittosporum plants. All of them are mature and were doing well. I was on vacation for a week or so and when I came back I saw of each of them is plant 90% dead. The d...
view the full question and answer

Patio plants suffering from heat in Austin
August 22, 2010 - My patio plants are burning up from the intense sun of Austin's August. Last year it even burned the leaves. Besides moving 40 plants to a shadier spot do you have suggestions on how to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Decline of indoor lemon cypress
June 25, 2008 - I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center