Freeze Alert: How to Protect Your Young Trees

A lot of beautiful spring blossoms emerged during the latest unseasonably warm weather. A hard freeze is forecast tonight. Here are some tips from Canopy.org to help protect your trees:

Protect your trees and plants

  • Cover susceptible trees and plants with burlap, sheets, tarps, etc., that extend to the ground to trap in the earth’s accumulated warmth. Use a frame or stakes to minimize contact between the cover and the foliage.  
  • Bring potted plants and trees to more protected locations. 

Keep plants well-watered:

  • Moist soil will absorb more solar radiation than dry soil, and will re-radiate heat during the night.
  • If you have a large tree that needs protection, running sprinklers at the coldest time of the day (usually between 4:00AM and 6:00AM) can give it a slight edge.The strategy makes use of latent heat released when water changes from liquid to a solid. When ice crystals form on the leaf surface they draw moisture from the leaf tissue.
  • The damage from this dehydration will be less severe if the plant is not already drought-stressed.

Advanced Planning for Freeze

  • Remove turf/weeds from under trees’ canopies—bare soil absorbs and reflects heat best.
  • Wood chip mulch prevents soil moisture loss and insulates roots.
  • Plant frost-sensitive plants near sources of reflective heat (like buildings, walls, etc).