University of Florida

Cold Protection Myths

Gardeners use many methods to protect plants from the cold, but some aren't practical and could be even be hazardous.

You've probably heard about running water over plants all night during a freeze. Running irrigation works on farms, but the water has to run continuously from before the freeze to several hours after temperatures rise. This wastes water and the heavy ice can damage plants.

Covering plants is simple and effective. But in order to protect the plant, the cover must reach all the way to the ground and be anchored. Be sure to remove covers as soon as temperatures rise, or you can cook the plant. Similarly, heaters aren't a good idea—you can burn the plant.

Dormant perennials can be protected with a layer of mulch. Of course, one of the best ways to prevent freeze damage is to select plants for your zone.

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