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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 forecasted. 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).

One Reply to “Freeze Alert: How to Protect Your Young Trees”

  1. Wood chip mulch has worked the best for us. We also try to water earlier as that can actually slightly decrease the superficial temperature of the tree compared to the ambient temperature.

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