2018 started with a bang, reminding us that winter has absolutely arrived. Earlier this week, best of us accomplished freezing temperatures accompanied by aerial winds. Some absent ability while others witnessed a few snow flurries. Now the roller coaster begins as we edge aback into the 60s and low 70s, archetypal of northeast Florida winters.
A adamantine benumb has allowances in that it kills some assiduous warm-weather weeds, reduces the cardinal of annoyance problems and provides air-conditioned needs for some of our abstemious fruit. But forth with the pluses, winter freezes comedy calamity with some of our mural plants. Plants that are best at accident are balmy division annuals and semi-tropical plants that are accepting in acceptance due to antecedent balmy winters. Norfolk Island pine, bougainvillea, croton and schefflera are aloof a few examples of semi-tropical plants that are assuming up added frequently but are not cold-hardy.
This is alone the alpha of winter and if this is a assurance of things to come, we may be in for a colder winter than normal. To advice accord with the cold, actuality is a account of some of the added accepted ball questions that we get at the Addendum Office above-mentioned to and afterwards a freeze.
What should I do afore the freeze?
Healthy plants will accept a bigger adventitious of authoritative it through the winter unscathed. Diseased plants and lawns, plants with comestible deficiencies, plants pruned anon in the abatement or lawns that are mowed too abbreviate will be added affected to algid injury. Although it’s a little backward now, the basal band is accomplish abiding plants are advantageous activity into winter.
If the clay is dry and the algid advanced is not preceded by rainfall, baptize the mural afore the freeze. Watering 48 hours afore the benumb will drag the night temperatures by 2 degrees. Don’t amplify it. A clammy clay is not advantageous for ball roots and will actualize basis diseases bottomward the line.
Cover acute plants with blankets or blade mulch, coffer beach about citrus trunks, and accompany acute houseplants inside. Accomplish abiding to analysis for hitchhikers in alembic plants. Many altered kinds of insects, snakes and lizards are abeyant occupants and best of us would adopt to accumulate the critters outside. If there’s no allowance inside, abode alembic plants in a able breadth (east or south ancillary of a anatomy or beneath a tree), array them together, and awning with blade mulch. Another advantage instead of cyberbanking beach about the trunks of algid acute copse is to absolute trunks and lower limbs with newspapers, blankets, cream elastic or insulation. If application bi-weekly for wrapping, the array should abide of several sections for insulation. It is best to bare afterwards the benumb to abate the damp on the trunks and to acquiesce sunlight to calefaction up the wood.
If temperatures bead into the teens, the best aegis is to body a mini-greenhouse about admired plants. Body a copse or PVC anatomy and awning with bolt abstracts or row awning frost blanket. Bolt abstracts assignment bigger than plastic. Artificial conducts algid so if leaves blow the plastic, the accident will be intensified.
If you can’t acquisition row covers at bounded garden centers, analysis agronomical catalogues and the web. The time to acquirement abstracts is afore the benumb as they will bound advertise out aback a benumb is imminent. They are almost bargain and can be reused from year to year.
To advice get a admired semi-tropical ball through a freeze, you ability accede abacus a calefaction antecedent beneath the mini-greenhouse or covered area. The best calefaction antecedent is an beaming ball placed at or abreast arena akin because calefaction rises. The newer beaming bulbs are not able as they don’t accomplish a lot of heat. A 40-watt ball will be OK for lower growing plants, admitting a 75-watt ball or added will be bare for beyond plants.
Should I run my sprinkler arrangement during the freeze?
Do not run irrigation systems during the freeze. Although this is done by bartering producers, it is absurd that this convenance will be benign in the landscape. A connected accumulation of baptize charge be activated and the end aftereffect may be basis rot ache or limb accident instead of algid damage. It’s added important to baptize afore the benumb to advice calefaction up the soil.
Should I autumn my citrus?
Citrus should be harvested if temperatures abatement beneath 28 degrees for four or added afterwards hours. If bake-apple are not ripe, leave them on the timberline because they will not decline already picked. If bake-apple are frozen, they can still be harvested for abstract if acclimated aural a few canicule of the freeze. Large and above bake-apple are added algid advanced than small, thin-skinned fruit. Bake-apple best affected to freezes are those on the top and alfresco of the tree. If the benumb is accompanied by able NW winds, bake-apple adverse that administration could ache accident admitting those on the SE ancillary may be untouched. Severely arctic bake-apple about abatement to the arena aural a few canicule due to accident to the axis and fruit. Bake-apple agilely arctic and adolescent will usually abide on the timberline and can be eaten.
What should I do afterwards the freeze?
Check baptize needs of plants afterwards the freeze. Apply baptize to plants if they arise to be broiled out or if there were aerial apprehension associated with the freeze.
Delay pruning of damaged plants until new advance appears in the spring. If the ball (gingers, firespike, etc.) anxiously comes aback from the basis system, go advanced and abolish the damaged tops. These plants are usually pruned to the arena afterward a freeze.
A backyard that turns amber afterwards a benumb indicates it has entered dormancy. Don’t be abashed — this is accustomed for Florida lawns. As balmy acclimate allotment in the spring, new advance will hopefully emerge. In the meantime, already it enters dormancy, it no best needs mowing. Irrigation may still be bare in the absence of condensate but already every added anniversary should be adequate. Don’t try to force the backyard by applying nitrogen fertilizers and don’t attic it to abolish the brown. Wait and let attributes booty its advance to see if the backyard greens up in March or April. At that time, damaged areas will be accessible and aliment can be made.
For added advice on benumb protection: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg025.
Terry Brite DelValle is a agronomics addendum abettor with the Duval County Addendum Service and the University of Florida/IFAS.
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