In the fall, many growers finish and bulk their perennials outdoors. But are you prepared for all the variables this season brings? What do you do if there is an early frost or freeze in the forecast?
by Chris Fifo
By this time, most perennials should be matured and well bulked – they should be able to take a frost without being damaged. But what if they aren’t? Or what if a hard freeze is eminent? Here are a few tips on surviving the season:
Frost blankets are the best. Have on-hand a few different thicknesses to meet your needs for the amount of protection. From light sheeting to full-on blanketing. Also, aim to have your crops watered and foliage dry before covering to prevent disease. It is ok if the crops need to stay covered for several days. Secure the edges well to keep the covering from blowing off and freezing the edges.
If frost blankets are not available, leaf damage can be lessened by rinsing the frost off the leaves early in the morning before the sun rises. Fan nozzles work great for this. A trick citrus growers use: Turn on your sprinklers briefly and periodically during the night.
Pagaent fungicide has also been documented to increase the cold tolerance of many plants. Be sure to follow label guidelines when applying. This product is systemic and it would be best to apply at least a week prior to a frost event.
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