To Cover or Not to Cover: How to Prevent Freeze Damage

Although Houston winters are mild compared to other parts of the country, we do sometimes experience freezing temperatures. When you see the thermometer dip, consider these top three factors when it comes to covering your plants.

  • Cloud cover helps retain heat and protect plants. Throughout the day, the sun’s rays heat up the earth, and at night, once the sun has set, that heat moves upward, lowering the temperature near the ground. If there is sufficient cloud coverage, the heat becomes trapped, keeping warmer temperatures near the ground and warding of frost.
  • Your location can influence when and how to protect plants. There is usually a 4- to 5-degree difference in temperature inside the city and in outlying suburbs – typically warmer in the city limits.
  • External factors like trees, concrete and buildings can also contribute to the likelihood of freeze damage. In more concentrated areas, plants are able to retain more heat since the warmth is held by buildings or objects in their surroundings.

As the winter season continues, don’t forget Prewett, Read & Associates’ recommendations when temperatures dip:

  • On days or nights when the temperature is supposed to dip, consider covering your plants. Doing so will protect them, even if you cover them just 15 minutes in advance.
  • Don’t factor in the wind chill when deciding to protect your plants or not – wind chill doesn’t affect them.

Irrigation Regulated by: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), MC-178 | P.O. Box 13087 │ Austin, Texas 78711 │ www.tceq.state.tx.us │ 512.239.5296 | Lic # LI18583 CAT 5/3A