How to Help Your Landscape Survive the Extreme Cold Temperatures

Atlanta has experienced very cold weather recently, with temperatures well below average this time of year. But you can help your favorite landscape features survive the cold.  Here are the top three ways to protect your valuable trees and plants from the extreme weather:

Water Your Plants and Trees BEFORE it Drops Below Freezing:

This tip surprises many people, but dehydration is a major risk associated with freezing cold weather.    High wind (or even cold breezes) coupled with winter sunshine cause a higher rate of water transpiration in trees and plants.  Another advantage to watering is that moist soil can absorb more heat.  As a preventative measure, we recommend watering your plants during dry periods leading up to cold weather snaps.

Move Potted Plants:

Potted plants are most vulnerable to the cold because the root system is above ground and the soil in a pot freezes much faster than the ground.  You can protect your potted plants by clustering the pots together (to create a wind break) or better yet, move the pots to a protected area such as a garage or the corner of a porch.  The worst location for a potted plant in freezing conditions is the south side of the house, as the direct winter sun can quickly dehydrate a plant that is already weakened by the cold.  

Consider Adding Insulation, such as Mulch

An additional layer of mulch will help retain the ground’s heat and reduce water loss from the soil, which will also aid in preventing dehydration.  Mulch also reduces the amount of soil swelling, known as “heaving,” as the ground freezes and thaws.  

If you have plants and trees that are particularly sensitive to the cold, you may consider an additional barrier of insulation, such as plastic or cardboard.  The barrier should not touch the plants directly, and because plastic can trap excess moisture and warm air, it should be removed during the day.  Like mulch, these barriers do not need to cover the entire plant to be effective.  Protective layers can simply protect the base of the plant and the root system. 

For more information about how to best care for your landscape, contact Handy Andy Outdoors today.