We’re nearly in October here in the High Country of North Carolina, and that means one thing…the first freeze warning is on the way. In fact, just this morning, WataugaOnline Tweeted that Grandfather Mountain experienced temps right at freezing!
While there isn’t much you need to do in order to prepare your lawn for the first freeze this season, the following extra steps to protect your shrubs, flowers, any irrigation systems, and more.
What is a Freeze Warning...and Why is it Harmful to My Plants?
A freeze warning occurs when the temperature outside threatens to drop below 32° Fahrenheit. This presents a danger for outdoor plants as it can freeze the water inside a plant. When water freezes inside a plant, it expands, potentially causing the plant cells to burst and cause irreparable damage to the plant.
Bring All Potted Plants Indoors
If you have plants in pots, the easiest way to protect them from a freeze is to bring them inside. Not only will you share your warmth with them, but you’ll receive the added benefit of extra Oxygen and some new decor!
If bringing potted plants indoors isn’t an option, then you can shield them from the wind and place them close together so they can protect each other.
Examples of Plants That Need Protecting
- Tropical Plants
- Any Spring Bloomer or Warm Weather Plant
Cover Plant Roots
It is easy to forget that plants are living organisms sometimes. But if you’re bundling up from the cold, you can bet your plants would like some added protection as well. A simple method to cover your plants and shield them from a freeze is to cover them with mulch or pine straw. Mulch and Pine Straw will create a protective barrier from the cold temps while trapping heat, thus protecting the plants roots and the plant throughout the winter.
Pro Tip: Avoid using plastic covers as they will trap condensation on the roots, which can then end up freezing and killing the foilage.
Believe It Or Not...Water Your Plants and Lawn
Yes, yes, we understand that this sounds counter intuitive. But the science backs this up! You should absolutely water your plants and lawn before a freeze. Wet soil can help retain more heat than dry soil. Be sure to water early in the day so the plants and lawn have time to absorb the water and to prevent freezing of your actual plant/grass roots.
Skip Watering Your Plants and Lawn If...
- The Ground is Already Frozen
- There’s a Hard Freeze (at least 4 hours of 25° Fahrenheit or Below)
- The Air Temperature is Below 40° Fahrenheit
- You’ve Watered Within the Last 2 Weeks
Protect Your Pipes!
This tip is not only a good general tip for your lawncare maintenance, but also for your overall household protection. You can avoid an expensive fix in the future by protecting your pipes during the winter.
Unhook outdoor hoses and shut off the water that leads to any outdoor spigots. Be sure to cover the spigot heads with towels, linens, or a specifically designed spigot cover. To further protect both your indoor and outdoor pipes, leave a faucet trickling/dripping overnight. There is no worse feeling than waking up to burst pipes!
Prevent Lawn Damage After A Freeze
So we’ve covered what to do to protect your lawn and plants as a freeze warning approaches, but as we know in Boone, NC, we’re going to experience several weeks at a time where temps don’t rise above freezing. So what do you do?
The best and most effective way to ensure you avoid damaging your lawn when it is frozen is to avoid walking on it. When grass blades freeze, the water forms crystals in the blades and if you walk on them too often, you risk damaging the grass to where it will either be slow to grow back in the spring or won’t grow back at all.
How Mountaineer Maintenance Helps High Country Lawns
We’ve experienced dozens of winters collectively over the years and have a proven process of lawn care and plant protection services to protect your yard during the fall and winter months in Boone. By utilizing our skills and expertise, we’ve been able to protect yards throughout the High Country with our fertilization and lawn care techniques. Visit our Boone Lawn Care Services page or Contact Us to learn more.