Share on Facebook

28 Ways to Protect Your Garden From Extreme Weather Conditions

Guard your plants against frost, high winds, heat, or drought.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

Alternate freezing and thawing harms plants just as much as the cold itself. Woody stems may split, and roots can heave out of the soil in a cycle of frost and defrost. The best defense for hardy plants is mulch. After cold weather arrives, spread 3 inches of shredded bark, leaves, or straw to help the soil maintain a constant temperature. Cover with netting, chicken wire, or tree branches to protect against wind.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

When a light frost threatens your small plants, grab a bunch of plastic produce bags. Slip a bag over each plant and anchor the edges with small rocks. You can also use upside-down flowerpots or cardboard boxes. These covers will deprive plants of light, which does no harm for short periods of less than three days.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

Place an old blanket over the plants before nightfall to trap soil heat and protect against light to moderate frosts. A thick quilt or comforter provides even more protection.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

When the first frost is on the way, pull up your tomato plants, shake off the dirt, and hang them upside down from your garage rafters. The fruits will continue to ripen for several weeks.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost

Protect wall-trained vines, shrubs, and trees with a removable shade. Attach a sheet of canvas large enough to cover the plants completely to a piece of wood mounted at the top of the wall. Let the cloth hang down over the plants in very cold weather. Pull up the shade when it’s warm and lower it in late afternoon to conserve heat for the night ahead.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

It may seem paradoxical, but let a sprinkler play over tender plants all night when a sudden freeze is predicted. Water gives off heat as it turns to ice, and will keep the plants warmer than the air. This trick is often used to keep the blossoms on fruit trees from being ruined by late freezes.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

Keep beds moist and free of weeds to head off frost damage in spring and fall. Soak beds in the daytime if frost is expected at night. This treatment helps heat rise from the soil on chilly nights and warm the plants. Here's how to deal with weeds under shrubs and trees.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

Wrap marginally hardy shrubs in insulated burlap screens. First, loosely stack oak leaves or straw around the plant (don’t use thin maple or dogwood leaves because they’ll become soggy and pack down). Then corral the insulation in a length of burlap supported by four corner stakes and tie it with cord. Leave the top open for air circulation.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from frost:

Pile mounds of soil 10 to 12 inches high around the bases of rosebushes to protect the roots, graft union, and lowest buds from cold injury. Remove the soil in early spring, but wait to prune until the tiny emerging buds indicate the extent of any injury. Here are tips for growing beautiful roses.

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/missbobbit

Protect from wind:

Protect your young plants by hammering a few stakes around each plant and wrapping a barrier of burlap around the stakes. Support tall specimens with stakes or cages.

View Slides 11-20
Originally Published in Reader's Digest