Most people in the Phoenix Metropolitan area do not pay much attention to cooler temperatures until they start to see damage in their landscape. This can be a costly error in judgment as severe cold damage can be mitigated by simply covering plants on the few days when cooler nighttime temperatures are forecasted. According the University of Arizona, the average first frost date ranges from November 21st to December 12th and the average last frost date ranges from February 7th to April 3rd.
Goodman’s sends out a yearly frost damage alert to our customers in late October, early November advising them to pay attention to forecasts. A majority of our longer term customers have purchased professional grade frost cloth from us at some point, and store them in the off season for use on cooler nights. The advantage of professional grade frost cloth is that it can be left on for longer periods of time, thus avoiding the labor of taking it off after daybreak and putting it back on in the evening.
If you have a lot of cold tender plants in your yard, you may be aware that putting on and taking off frost cloths can involve hours of time…particularly if you are installing them correctly. Proper installation means covering the plant from top to bottom, as shown in these pictures. Make sure that the cloth drapes down and is not tied at the base. Last year we had several people call after seeing damage, only to find out all suppliers were out of frost cloths. This resulted in a huge amount of plants needing to be replaced in the Spring.
Tips for Frost Damage Treatment
If you start to notice your plant’s fruit, leaves, shoots, stems, flowers, and/or flower buds dying during the winter season, you can most likely attribute it to frost damage. Some people might have the desire to prune the frost-damaged plant right away, however, this is not recommended because it could stimulate new growth that would be exposed to frost damage again. Also, even though the leaves and stems are damaged, they are still helping to keep warm air near the plant. It is best to prune during the spring when the plant has already started to show new growth. If the entire plant seems damaged and the new growth is only at the root level, you will probably need to either cut down the existing dead plant to make room for the new growth or replace the plant all together.
Do not use smudge pots, mulch, or chemicals to try and keep your plants warm. As mentioned above, investing in professional grade frost cloths is the best way to prevent frost damage.
Do Your Plants Have Frost Damage?
If your landscape has experienced frost damage this winter, please contact Goodman’s today for a free estimate on replacing your plants with frost-damage tolerant plants. We can also provide you with a landscape maintenance plan that will keep your yard looking beautiful and fresh. We also provide landscaping in Scottsdale and surrounding areas.