Fighting Florida Frost 

 Winter is here, and so far, so cold. We've been facing off with some pretty low numbers on the thermometer so far, and it's still December. If you're freezing, how about your plants? Your green friends are outside in all this. In this blog, we'll go over ways to keep your trees and plants warm no matter what Mother Nature has in store this season.

When we know it's going to get cold, the first thing that comes to mind is to cover sensitive plants. Remember, The idea is to keep frost from touching the plant. Forget sheets and especially plastic; the best protection is a frost cloth. You'll find them in your favorite garden center or Amazon. This cloth is thick, insulated, and lightweight. Quilts and blankets are decent alternatives. Sheets are too thin. Plastic can trap moisture and make it worse for the material that you're trying to save.

Watch the edges of the cloth when wrapping up your plants for a frigid night. It's vital to make sure it goes all the way to the ground. Use bricks or rocks to make sure it stays down. This technique is good for two reasons; it covers the leaves and also warms the soil.

Now that your plants are covered move to the palms. Tie up the fronds of a small or young palm and wrap the "head" with frost cloth, a heavy blanket or several layers of burlap. For small trees, cover the entire head.

We live in Central Florida, which means the cold won't last forever. A night or two, maybe. When the weather warms back up, take a walk around your yard. If you see damaged or dead limbs, don't do the first thing that comes to mind; DON'T CUT THEM OFF. These brown and ugly leaves are your martyrs. They died so the rest of your shrub can live. The dead ones will go on to take on future winter frosts, protecting the rest of the plant. Besides, pruning creates new growth, and those frail green shoots are no match for temperatures in the thirties. Don't prune the dead parts until the spring.

Winter worries are real for people like us who love their plants and trees. It's up to us to protect our tropical pets in the winter. If you need some help or simply some advice, please, contact us at ELT Landscape. Our crews will keep your green buddies healthy all-year-long, which makes them more likely to be able to withstand Old Man Winter, even the one that pops up in Florida.

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