Preparing Your Garden for the First Frost

October 8, 2009

For gardeners in most zones, the end of the growing season is signaled by the onset of the first frost. No matter when it arrives, it always seems painfully early. To avoid damage to your plants, it helps to understand the conditions under which it forms, how it affects different plants, and what actions you need to take when the first frost is in the forecast.

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How Frost Damages Plants

Species, age, overall health, and location are all factors that affect frost damage. The primary factor, however, is the internal temperature within the plant's tissues. When internal temperatures become too cold, fluids within the plant's cells freeze and rupture, damaging surrounding tissues. Cool weather before frost (like falling afternoon temperatures) is more likely to result in damage, because the plant's internal tissues are already lower to begin with.

Conditions that Favor Frost

Frost occurs when air temperatures fall below 32F To form, conditions have to be just right.

Plants Most at Risk

Garden Locations Most Susceptible

Effective Means of Protection

If frost is predicted, you can protect your plants in a number of ways.

Dealing with Frost Damaged Plants

Click here to find the average first frost date in your area: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/home_garden/a/average_frost_dates

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