Protect Your Plants 

It’s getting chilly. While we can slip on a jacket when the temperatures take a dip in Central Florida, our plants can’t. This blog will help you tell if your greenery is holding up to cold temperatures, and what do to help them survive our cold days and especially nights. And no, we won’t be making tiny sweaters for their leaves. 

Tropicals need time
The worst scenario for us is one suddenly freezing day. While we may prefer to get our ‘Florida Winter’ over in a mere 24-hours, that one frigid day can be a deadly for tropical trees and plants. 

Many of the species that decorate our yards can hold up to the cold if they slowly become acclimated to the change. This process is called hardening. Over the course of a few chilly days, plants adapt to the temperature change and build up a cold tolerance. One day of freezing or even near-freezing temperatures catches them off-guard and can knock them out—sometimes for good.

Cold check
When you’re looking for cold damaged plants, start with the leaves. Check for water spots. The cold prevents plants like Philodendrons and Podocarpus from absorbing water. The water stays on the leaves, and the plant will begin to wilt.

 Keep in mind, just because your plants don’t look bad the day after a frigid day doesn’t mean they’re in the clear—it usually takes a few days for the symptoms to develop. In some cases, leaves will yellow and fall to the ground.

Protection plan 
Since winter is around the corner, it’s too late to take  long-range precautions, like fertilizer treatments and way too late to build a windbreaking structure like a fence, so we’ll focus on what you can do when you see that a cold front is moving in.

First, make sure your sensitive material gets water, preferably the day before. Wet soil absorbs heat during the daylight hours. But be careful too much water can damage root systems.

Now add mulch. The ground cover will help keep the heat in the soil surface. Just a few inches provides your plants with a beautiful blanket.

Finally, if you know  extreme cold is on the way use a cover.  We suggest cloth, like an old sheet or towel over a piece of plastic. Some leaves can actually lose heat if they come in contact with plastic. Make sure your cover extends all the way to the ground to best capture heat. 

We hope this information is helpful, and more importantly, your favorite plants survive the next few months.

Remember, we have professional services that will protect your landscape. Our designers can give you a yard that will be safe all year, and our irrigation technicians will make sure your trees and plants are getting the water they need before a freeze. 

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