When winter comes, as it does every year, your plants are liable to frost damage. This is one of the unavoidable truths of home-ownership.

Around Portland, there are so many excellent gardeners that you can almost hear a collective cringe when the temperatures dip much below 40°.

However, it is possible to protect your plants from frost damage and keep your landscape healthy for the next year. This post is all about just that: how to protect your plants from frost.

Cover Your Plants from Frost

Covering your plants from the elements is a great way to ward off frost damage.

There are several materials you can use to shield your beauties from the elements, including plastic sheeting, fabric, and newspaper. If your plants are in pots or other containers, move them under the eaves of your home, if not into the garage or the home itself.

Make sure that you secure whatever cover you use so that it’s not blown away or easily disturbed by wandering critters.

Stay Informed: When Does Frost Pose a Threat?

Plants are, in fact, relatively hearty. While it may be tempting to worry about your landscaping when you find need to wear a scarf and wool coat, your plants are far more hearty.

At least your native plants should be able to handle most chilly evenings, including when the temps drop below freezing. The threshold temperature seems to be around 28°, which can be low enough to do some damage to your most vulnerable plants, especially tropical plants.

If the temperatures are dipping into the 20’s, it’s time to keep an eye out for your plants. If you are facing a night where it will drop below 25° for many hours, your plants are all facing real damage.

Most of the damage will come from drying, so monitor the forecast and provide a generous watering prior to a deep freeze.

Select the Right Plants for Your Area

Planting hearty, native species in your garden is the very best way to avoid frost damage.

Local species have the genetic make-up to ward off the cold of most any ordinary winter in their native land.

However, there are those winters that can surprise them – and you – with abnormal freezes. For a prime example, consider how even Florida must ward off frost in its orange groves during those unusually cold winters.

If you simply must have more delicate plants, you might consider making them the exception in the garden so that you have less to worry about, and less to cover, when winter arrives.

You can even plant your delicate plants under trees or with larger, heartier plants surrounding them. Protecting your plants from frost damage can be as simple as giving them large friends.

Even if your plants seem harmed by frost and freezing, all may not be lost. The best advice in the case of being too late for the cold is to do nothing until spring at that point. When the sunshine and warmer temperatures return, you can assess the true nature of the damage, if any.

Let Us Help Protect Your Plants

Crowley Landscape Management is the Portland Metro Area’s premier expert on landscape and garden solution.

If you have more questions on how to protect your plants from frost damage or which plants would do best in your environment, contact us for expert guidance for the chilly, wet Oregon months.

We can also be reached by phone at (503) 682-3090. We look forward to helping you with your plants!