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Incoming Frost

SpecksSpecks Posts: 7
What is everyone planning to do with regards to this frost that's coming? My main concern is my magnolia which is in flower. Shall I cover or just leave nature to do its thing? What's everyone else doing? 


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,914
    One spring, when I was much younger and fitter, I heard that a sharp frost was due and I went out and covered every apple tree, pear tree and plum tree  (which were on the point of flowering) with sheets. Decent sized trees. Tied the sheets on with yards of twine. Spent hours wobbling around on a ladder.

    Came the morning, came the frost.

    Went out in the afternoon to uncover all the bandaged trees.

    Complete waste of time. Every blossom browned.

    I hear that French wine growers light little fires along the rows of vines. I wouldn’t risk it. I’d probably burn the place down.

    Now I just pray to whatever god might be up there. It’s about as much use.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,440
    I agree, you just have to let things take their course with things in the garden. Plants in coldframes etc are different, you can cover with fleece .
    I remember many years ago covering my clematis Montana with old net curtains as it was in full flower and a cold snap was forecast. As it was against a South facing wall, very little damage was done anyway, but l wouldn't bother doing it again.
    I would take a load of photos of your Magnolia so that you can remember how lovely it is, and then wait to see what Nature does next  :)
  • Jenny_AsterJenny_Aster Posts: 914
    edited March 2022
    I've been cutting off the bottom 3 inches from empty 4 pint plastic cartons of milk; using them to germinate seeds. The top 8 or so inches of the carton I've saved to pop over plants as an emergency type cloche. The only plants I'm concerned about are a dozen sweet peas I've planted out, so they'll cop for a 'top hat'. The rest of the seedlings are under a cloche on raised bed which will probably get covered by a bundle of dog towels.

    Blossom on fruit trees hasn't really developed yet, just hoping (like others) the blossom doesn't burst forth in all its glory over the cold snap. 
    Trying to be the person my dog thinks I am! 

    Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border.
  • I agree.i did the same as you pansyface.what a faff! didn't make any difference and made the garden look ridiculous. 
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,877
    edited March 2022
    Like most people I let things take their chances. We've had early morning frosts fairly often recently and the Magnolia stellata is flowering anyway. The magnolia and the camellia are in a west-facing border which helps because they don't get the early morning sun on top of frost.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,748
    I lost all my fruit last years thanks to frost. I hope it won't happen again. The peaches, cherries and pears are in blossom and the apples will be soon. We have snow forecast for Dordogne on Friday.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 4,291
    When you have minus 4 or 5 for the same number of days that is when long term damage is done and some plants can die. I remember a winter when all the Ceonothus and Phormiums were hit hard. The Phormiums regrew from the base but most of the Ceonothus died. It did seem like something was missing the following spring. Blue flowers against a blue sky always look amazing .I also recall chunks falling off old terracotta pots in a lot of the gardens where I worked. It was an opportunity to rethink, move on and try something new which is always exciting. 

    BROWN IS A COLOUR   Piet Oudolf
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,877
    Plants can sometimes come through cold spells remarkably well. After the winter of (I think) 2009/10 when we had temperatures below zero for pretty much the whole of December and in minus double figures overnight, I expected to have lost lots of things, but even Salvia patens came back the following spring (albeit a bit late). I think it helped that the cold spell started with a heavy snowfall that winter, which insulates the ground underneath.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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