Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Be Prepared

Now that the overnight temperatures are dipping lower, are you prepared to protect your frost-sensitive plants from winter freezes?  If not, now's the time to make sure you have the supplies and a plan in place for an upcoming freeze.  Frost protection supplies to have on hand can include the following:

  • Cardboard, foam pipe insulation, or fiberglass – to wrap the trunks of young trees
  • Floating row covers, burlap, nursery foam covers, sheets, or blankets – to cover frost-sensitive plants

As you clean up your yard this fall, be sure to keep the soil around tree trunks free of ground cover, weeds, and mulch since bare soil radiates more heat.  And you may want to move frost-sensitive plants closer to your house since your home radiates heat it absorbed during the day.

When a freeze is predicted, irrigate your plants two to three days in advance of the freeze so that the soil moisture is optimum for solar absorption.  Avoid irrigating your plants right before a freeze because it increases evaporation and minimizes solar radiation.  Before the sun sets, cover your frost-sensitive plants.  If using sheets, blankets or other heavy material, use some type of support to keep it from weighing down the foliage.  And be aware that if the material you use as a cover gets wet, it could lead to colder temperatures near the fabric.  Remove the cover during the day to recharge the heat in the soil, and to allow the greenery to absorb sunlight.

young citrus tree
young citrus tree

Posted on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 9:47 AM


This is wonderful and super useful--thanks, Kathy!!  
Just keeping my fingers crossed that we're through with frost for the year--can't control remotely from Pismo! -:)  
Great advice for next year.

Posted by lanie Keystone on March 11, 2020 at 12:26 PM

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