Frost damage: Seven ways to protect your plants from the frosty spring weather

UK Weather: Met Office predicts cold and frosty conditions

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Spring is a busy time for the garden with plenty of tender plants ready to grow uncovered in beds, pots and borders. While the brighter days are here to stay, the warm spring weather is yet to arrive across the country – leaving garden plants vulnerable to frost damage and stunted growth. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to protect your plants during a cold snap, and these are just seven of the best methods to try.

Invest in cloches

While many plants have only just been uncovered or planted out for spring, the frosty weather calls for warmth and shelter to protect young growth.

Cloches are one of the easiest removable remedies to cover tender plants, and they’re even better for growing vegetables without the risk of pests and diseases.

Decorative cloches like Victorian-style bell jars are a great way to add flair to your garden while keeping your plants warm and dry, but tunnel styles are also good if you have a large area to cover.

Use fleece to keep plants cosy

Horticultural fleece is perfect for pots, shrubs and trees which are all particularly vulnerable to frost damage.

Simply wrap this soft material around exposed plants during a cold spell and remove it once the risk of frost has passed.

A lightweight fleece is best for chilly spells, but be sure to use a heavier weight in snowy or icy conditions.

Bubble wrap plant pots

Container-grown plants need extra protection from frost as the roots, top growth and even the pot itself can become damaged during bouts of harsh weather.

The easiest way to keep your plants safe from a spring frost is to wrap layers of bubble wrap around the container to insulate the roots.

Frost-proof pots are also recommended for vulnerable growth.

Cover tender plants

If you have the space, bringing potted plants indoors before a frosty period is the easiest way to shelter them from the elements.

Plummeting temperatures and icy winds are telltale signs of frost, so be prepared and move potted fruit trees and tender flowers into a greenhouse, conservatory or even a porch before the challenging weather arrives.

Succulents, fuchsias and salvias should all be sheltered at the first sign of a cold snap.

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Use plastic sheeting as a frost cover

Tarpaulin or even a large plastic bag can act as a temporary cover for exposed plants.

The trick is to layer the covering so that it sits above the plants without making contact, so use rods, bamboo stakes or even milk cartons to raise the sheeting.

Contact with the plants could cause further damage once the plastic freezes in the cold weather.

Create a miniature greenhouse

If you’re tight on space either inside your home or in the garden, a miniature greenhouse is the perfect solution to protect small container-grown plants.

Either invest in a shop-bought structure or make your own outdoor cabinet to house young seedlings, herbs and flowers.

There are plenty of designs which can be replicated, including:

  • A free-standing cabinet-style greenhouse
  • A window-style greenhouse made from four old windows
  • Reclaimed wooden structures with polyurethane panels
  • Flat-pack greenhouses
  • A raised bed with a glass panel covering

Water your plants before a frost

Being prepared is key for this simple hack, but it could save your plants from permanent damage once the frost hits.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast if you notice a spring chill and fill up your watering can to prepare for the cold snap.

The night before the frost is expected, give your garden plants a thorough watering to invigorate your plants and keep them in good stead until the warmer weather returns.

This is effective because wet soil is always warmer than dry soil, meaning your plants will suffer less from the icy breeze.

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