Wintertime brings frost to some areas of Australia where temperatures can drop to below zero. Damage is caused by the formation of ice crystals in the plant cells causing them to expand and rupture. The greatest risk of damage is when the air is still and frost easily settles on our garden.
Gardening in winter can have its challenges but all is not lost. Here are a few tips for you.
- A good layer of mulch helps to insulate the soil and keep it a bit warmer.
- Protect new plantings by covering with a lightweight fabric (Frost Cloth) or upturned pots or bottles making sure that plants have sunlight during the day.
- Use frost protectorant and transpirant like Envy or even Seaweed solution can help.
- If you are keen to rise early, hose off frost before the sun hits the leaves in the morning
- Create a microclimate in your garden. Plant near a north facing wall for radiated heat
- Plant under the protective canopy of trees to reduce frost damage
Plant selection can make a big difference to your garden coping with the winter weather
- Look for plants that have small, densely packed foliage
- Deciduous plants will often cope better through Winter since they have no leaves
- Choose plant varieties that originate from low-temperature regions like Camellias, Hydrangeas, Azaleas. See more choices in this collection.
- As a general rule, plants with tougher leathery leaves will cope better with frost, Photinia is a good example.
- Plants with hairy leaves will often fair better as the frost sits on the hairs above the leaves.
Once the risk of frost is over, that is the best time to plant. Roots can start to establish and once the warmth of Spring comes you will start to see growth above the ground.
If your garden plants experience frost damage, don’t be tempted to cut damaged foliage off. It will do a great job protecting the leaves below from any further frost damage.