Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Freezing Weather: Doug Welsh on Saving Your Plants

Aggieland is bracing for a hard freeze tonight, with frigid temperatures sure to cause most gardeners ─ yes, even those in a region widely known for its horticultural prowess ─ to fret.

Doug Welsh, author of the wildly popular book Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac (Texas A&M University Press, 2007), shared some of his best plant-saving strategies with viewers of Bryan-College Station's KBTX this morning.

Here the renowned professor and extension horticulturist for Texas AgriLife Extension Service shares even more tips for ensuring your vegetables, flowers, and herbs are able to survive a cold snap:

Q: Bryan-College Station gardeners have not seen temperatures this low since 2002. What can gardeners here and in freeze-prone areas do before the low temperatures set in to prepare their winter flowers and herbs?

DOUG WELSH: Most cool season annual flowers, such as pansies, will be injured with the sustained (24-48 hours) freezing temperatures predicted. Protect them with a blanket or quilt, or cardboard boxes. Herbs, other than rosemary, will be heavily damaged, if not killed. Protect the herbs you desire most with blankets, quilts, or boxes as well. Providing supplemental heat can also help. I recommend Christmas lights.

Q: How will freezing temperatures affect knock-out roses and other shrub roses? Should any special precautions be taken there?

DW: All the shrub roses should be fine. They will likely lose their foliage, but that's about it. Temperatures lower than 10 degrees F would be needed to kill knock-out roses.

Q: Should you water your plants beforehand?

DW: Water all container-grown plants, veggie gardens, and flower beds prior to a freeze.

Don't forget to check out Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac for a practical, information-packed, month-to-month guide for growing in Texas!

1 comment:

  1. My plants were left out by accident. There was no frost but it was cold and they are now wilted and don't look like they are going to make it. Is there anyway I can save them?
    These are the flats that I bought. I would take them in at night and bring them out during the day. Please tell me there is some way to save them.
    Thanks for your help.