at what temperature should you cover plants

At What Temperature Should You Cover Plants?

When wintertime comes, it’s not only humans who must take cover. Many plants might need covering to make sure that they endure the cold temperatures. However, not all plants require covering. Deciding what temperature to cover plants is entirely up to you.

With plants, you have numerous choices, restricted only by the plant’s size. Using plastic, without any different protection type, is not on that list and might harm than good. Arborists suggest a multi-facet approach to safeguard plants in a freeze.

What Temperature to Cover Plants: Mulch and Water

Because damp soil can hold warmth better than dry soil, be sure to water your plants into a freeze. Morning is the best time to water. Be careful not to get any water on the plant, or it will freeze.

Afterward, spread a generous layer of mulch over the soil, protecting the roots and insulating it. Mulch and water might be all that is necessary for more challenging plants, including azaleas and roses.


More delicate flowers, like bougainvillea and duranta, necessitate extra help when a freeze happens. Cover the foliage with bedsheets, fabric, or burlap. Never use plastic since moisture gets trapped beneath it. The moisture could freeze, destroying the plants you were safeguarding.

If the plant has ice on it, wrap the plants with fabric and put a layer of plastic over it. Make sure that the cloth is big enough to cover the whole plant to the dirt. Use heavy items, like decorative rocks, to keep the sheet in place. Plastic could be a great help if hail or sleet is in the forecast.

What to Use

Commercial tree experts frequently use a product known as a floating row covering. This slender woven polyester cover replicates heat but let irrigation flow through. Also, you can use plastic. However, be sure it is black and not clear.

tree plastic cover


Some gardeners decide to safeguard even the most cold-resistant plants and roses from frost. Another great idea is constructing a chicken wire cage around the plants, using dried leaves to fill the cell.

They’ll settle during winter, so add more if necessary. Safeguard plants with tactful foliage by placing stakes into the dirt around the plants and then put the fabric cover over the stakes. The point is to keep the covering away from delicate foliage.

Freeze Damage

In spite of your best intentions, freeze damage could happen. It’s critical to fight the temptation to use water to wash ice off a plant. Let the foliage thaw by itself. Hot water will not only cook the plant; it will damage the roots.

Use gardening shears to get rid of damaged stems and leaves from delicate plants, like impatiens. Don’t prune woody plants. Wait until the springtime to trim woody plants, slicing damaged wood back to green wood.

If you have any questions about plant covering and the right temperature, call and speak with one of our tree professionals at Buffalo Tree Service.

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