Perth recently shivered through its coldest night in 3 years, with temperatures in Jandakot dropping below zero- brrr! So if you were all rugged up like a blanket burrito, it might be time to spare a thought for your garden outside and take some steps to prevent frost damage.
First things first, what exactly is frost?
Your plants go through the cycle of soaking in the sun and storing heat during the daytime, and then begin to lose that stored heat as day turns into night. But on cloudless, windless nights when temperatures dip below 5 degrees, the moisture in the air condenses to dew which can freeze on the surfaces of your plants. And if the temperature falls far enough for plant cells to freeze, most non-frost hardy plants will begin to die.
When this happens, if you find yourself reaching for the garden clippers – stop!
It is important to hold off on any pruning until the danger of frost is over. Instead, try to minimise any further damage by taking measures to protect your plants. Anything from old bedsheets, plastic drop sheets, tarpaulins or even an upside down plastic pot over any non-hardy plants can help shield and insulate them from the cold.
So in future, it is best keep an ear out when your local weather forecaster announces the ‘chance of frost’ and be prepared – your garden will thank you for it!