frost on leaves
HEAVY HOARFROST ON LEAVES. (PHOTO BY GUNNAR RIES, WIKICOMMONS.)

Still looking for ideas for Mom on Mother’s Day? You could always give her a card, gift baskets or a trip to her favorite spa, but why not coordinate something even more special by helping her plant gorgeous flowers throughout her yard? Additionally, you may want to make sure she knows how to care for her plants, especially when it comes to protecting them from frost if she lives in a colder area. Here are some points to keep in mind.

What Causes Frost?
You might think you’re aware of everything when it comes to frost, but it turns out the reaction involves more than just frozen water. According to The Garden Helper, cold, cloudless nights in the fall, winter or spring can damage your plants. That’s because during the day, plants and the soil around them store heat from the sun, which is greatly reduced by the time night falls. Clouds usually help insulate the ground, but without them, flowers have no protection.

As temperatures plummet, moisture in the air condenses and turns into dew, reports the news source. This can freeze on the surface of blossoms and foliage if temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the weather forecast and take note of any frost approaching.

What Happens to Plants?
The University of Arizona points out that frost damage is most likely to occur in young, actively growing plants, as well as flowering blossoms. The most common types of damage include the deaths of dormant buds, dieback of leaves, scorched brown patches, blackened foliage, spotting and death of fruits, reports the Royal Horticultural Society.

How Can I Protect Them?
Luckily, you don’t have to sit back and watch as your favorite blooms freeze to death. The Garden Helper Points out that you should start by taking preventative measures – choosing plants that are capable of surviving frost. You can often tell which plants are best simply by looking around your neighborhood and noticing which types are thriving.

You can also use cloth or paper for coverage, reports the University of Arizona. Drape either option over your plants and make sure that the bottoms completely touch the ground so air is unable to escape. It’s best to use a frame to support the cover, but if you’re pressed for time, placing it directly on the plants will still work. Be sure to take the material off in the morning!