Good afternoon, I have recently planted 20-25 red buckeye seeds in 1 gal. pots. The radicle has emerged on most since planting. Where my concern comes in is the fact that a few have already begun to sprout. I'm worried that these that have sprouted will be killed back if and when we have a hard freeze. Currently we have only gotten into the mid 20's thus far but we almost always see a few nights around 17-18 degree range. By the way, I am in central Alabama, zone 8a.
Should I bring these few inside to protect them or just leave them alone and allow nature to take its course?
Thanks for your help and advice in advance.
I would be inclined to leave the seedlings / saplings outside, indoors in very un-natural for these plants.
What I would do is offer the small plants shelter from frost either night frost Cold temps or even day time drop in temp, buy some horticultural fleece, cost a couple of dollars and is white, very fine, no weight to it and allows water, light and air to circulate but keeps frost from the tender new growth, it can easily be removed when the temp inproves and throw over the plants in minutes when the temp drops, you can wash it and save for other seedlings to prevent sun burn and aphids attack.
Other help can come from clear plastic up-turned juice containers used like mini greenhouses, place a cane into the soil and inset a clear container that has the bottom removed and remove the cap to allow air to circulate.
Hope this helps a bit and good luck.
Best Regards. WeeNel.
Thank you, WeeNel, for the tips. I may actually give the juice jugs a try. I was honestly very surprised to see the seedlings emerging so early, with cold weather still a strong possibility. But who knows, maybe this isn't early for them and is right on time. We shall see.
Ditto WeeNel: A little protection in their current location is better than bringing them inside.
For a block of plants I would make some arches out of whatever you have lying around and put some clear plastic sheeting over the arches.
I have used rebar (reinforcing bar for concrete), PVC irrigation pipe and a few other things to make the arches.
If you can stick the ends into the soil to hold them that is best.
Put some garden furniture among the pots and use that to support the plastic.
Secure the edges with rocks, bricks, some 2 x 4 lumber... anything. You do not want a wind to come by and remove the protection!
Make sure it is not getting too warm during the day. You may have to remove the plastic, or at least fold it out of the way during the day, then put it back before the sun leaves the area. Just enough sun left to give it that little boost that will help the plants through the night.
I have a young lime tree (uh, bush) that will always need that protection (I am in the wrong zone for this plant). Came through last winter and out most recent freeze just great. PVC pipe frame and plastic sheeting.