En EspaŅol

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 Seasonal Tasks Questions

Bluebonnet Planting in January in Lockhart
January 23, 2014 - My husband has yet again failed for the second year straight to put out the bluebonnet seeds in our backyard back in October. Is it too late now that it's mid January for me to get them in the groun...
view the full question and answer

Sycamore leaf snowbell from Pleasanton TX
August 18, 2012 - How do you care for a sycamore leaf snowbell. Does it like sun or part shade? How much water? How often and what should it be fed. How fast or slowly does it grow? Anything you can tell me would be ap...
view the full question and answer

Damage to plants after sudden freeze in Redway CA
January 02, 2010 - I live on the North Coast of California near "The Avenue of the Giants" and Redwoods State Park along the Eel River. We recently have had below freezing weather, constant rain and even snow! I have...
view the full question and answer

Germination of bluebonnet seeds in Hempstead, TX
April 01, 2008 - We scattered 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds on our property near Hempstead. Only about 10 plants have come up even though on another part of the property we have thousands. It is well drained and in sun....
view the full question and answer

Best preparation time for wildflower garden for summer
January 21, 2003 - Is it too late in late Fall to prepare a wildflower garden for next spring/summer?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center