Winter is here for the next few months, what a beautiful time of the year it is! Whilst I am landscaping it is still warm enough to wear shorts, but when the sun dips just behind the trees… It becomes another story. Today I am going to teach you about Frost Guard and how it protects your plants.
Only recently have I noticed frost occurring along the river as this is the lowest point for dew to form and become ice. As the next few cold fronts make their way up from Cape Town, the rest of the country will start to experience freezing temperatures at night and even during the day. When we experience cold temperatures below 5 degrees at night you will start to notice that certain plants within your garden start to go brown on the leaves. If you notice ice crystals on the lawn (not dew), then you have frost too.
Plants which are really tender are: Strelitzia nicolii, Philodendrons, Zantedeschia , Cyathea ferns, Colocasia are just to name a few. Although these plants look spectacular in summer, in winter these plants are a “no go”. Most plants are able to shake the frost off but there are a few that “kick the bucket”. So how do you protect these plants?
Most nurseries, garden centres, and DIY maintenance retailers stock a material called frost guard. It is a white material that is almost see-through. It comes in rolls of 10m, 20m and 50m in length, the width of it is usually 1.2m, if lucky you can find it with a width of 2m.
I would recommend buying this material now and start placing it over your tender plants.
#1 Find the plant which is affected
#2 Lay the roll on the floor (measure the height x 2 and width)
Remember that the frost guard must cover both sides maybe even all sides depending on where the plant is located. Eg: A tender plant against a wall will only be frosted on the one side.
#3 Cut the frost guard into pieces.
#4 Put the frost guard over the plant or plants.
#5 Use string or twine to hold the frost guard down, I usually tie the string down to the stem of the plant or onto branches of other trees or shrubs.
#6 Once tied down, give a gentle tug on all of the corners to ensure that the frost guard will not blow off in the wind. Ensure that it is not tied down too tight as this could damage the plant.
When the weather starts to get warm heading into spring, be careful not to rush out and remove the frost guard as we often get a cold snap late September early October.
Who is Nicholas Spargo?
Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants, has been in the landscape trade for 12 years as well as being a lecturer at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre for the past year. He was awarded a Gold for a design at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre Design Show in 2008, is an Invasive Species Consultant and is affiliated with the South African Green Industries Council.
Landscaping and education are very close to his heart.