New to this: Covering for spring freeze??

Holden, MO

I just planted a magnolia tree, browns yews, and azaleas. I also transplanted my daylillies. I am in Missouri and it is suppose to get below freezing Weds, Thurs, and Friday nites. My quesion is what if any of these need to be covered and with what?

Springfield, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi ncognita! I'm in the same prediciment, I just planted a whole bunch of bare root stuff, including 3 roses, I'll cover the ones with their crowns at soil level with mulch or leaves, my new roses have leaf sprouts, so I will over turn large empty pots and place a rock on top, so wind can't knock them over. I'll do that with a lot of my smaller transplants. With the larger stuff (like trees and shrubs) you can use old sheets, burlap things of that nature. I wouldn't use any heavy sheets of plastic. If you use any plastic, leave some opening for air circulation, and remove the plastic as soon as tempertures allow. I'll uncover my stuff during the day, if it gets above freezing so they can go tanning! Newspaper and boxes make good cover too! I hope I could be of some help. I, been waitng for two weeks for my tulips to bloom, now its gonna freeze! I love Ohio! I,ll cover th blooms and hold my breath! Good luck!

Missouri City, TX

Take a page from the fruit and veggie farmers and spray the plants with water. It will freeze, but help protect the plant.

If you can cover with a row-cover, jugs and the like filled with hot water under the cover will also help keep the temperature above the ambient air temp.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

There are also products called Cloud Cover and WiltPruf (and undoubtedly some similar ones as well) that you can spray on the leaves and they make a coating that helps prevent the leaves from freezing.

Kansas City (Joyce), MO(Zone 5a)

North Kansas city gardener here and I have about 300 plants above ground and about 15 roses plants with leaves.....darn the weather, 80 on Monday and I spent half a beautiful day trying to get ready for the freeze. I have made cages out of wire that I keep over my roses filled with leaves during the winter and I also put mulch over the graft, so I took those cages and put newspaper all around the edges and then later this week I will put them on the roses and cover the top with newspapers and hopefully that will work. Everything else will get covered with old sheets and towels.

I agree with crashbandiscoot, anytime I have used plastic it has actually frosted under it. I am not going to worry about my iris altho they are mixed in with other things. I have often thought because our weather is so strange other than the roses just to leave well enough alone and see what happens but I want my lilacs and all that stuff so I just can't do it.

Foristell, MO(Zone 5b)

I am so glad someone else asked about this! What about hostas, daylilies and strawberry plants? Do you think a layer of straw or leaves would be good enough? thanks!

Tuscaloosa, AL(Zone 7b)

One thing I have read is to water the ground well before covering up the plants. Wet ground stays warmer than dry. I have read that when using plastic if it touches any part of the plant it will freeze that part. I have lots of big plastic buckets I'm going to use to cover my roses and other in-ground plants. For the potted ones, I folded blankets in half, used duct tape to secure the blanket to the house wall at the fold, let the back and sides hang down to the deck floor and then secured the top half to the deck floor in front, forming a kind of triangular area. This worked well for me before.


Springfield, OH(Zone 6a)

I'm glad you mentioned the water, I wasn't sure, but it just makes sense to me. Think the plants will have plenty to stress about, without having to stress about water. thanks glendalekid.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 5b)

I hope my Japanese Maple and Star Magnolia trees will survive....they are not looking too great at the moment. We just moved to the KC area from Phoenix. The maples had beautiful new red foliage and the magnolia had new green leaves after blooming. I didn't think these needed to be covered (and they are too large anyway). After the past week with freezing night time temps, the leaves are shriveled and drooping. Does anyone know if the trees will produce new leaves this year or not? Or, if we just won't see foliage on them until next season? Thanks so much for your help.

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

kmmatthe, I have a Cladrastis kentukea (American yellowwood, native to NW MO) in my back yard and every time we have a late freeze its tender little baby leaves get frozen, then dry out and crumble into bits. You'd think a local native's ancestors would have learned to grow tougher or later leaves. Apparently what the ancestors evolved was a complete willingness to produce a whole new 2nd set of leaves, and that's what my tree does. So I'm sure that your trees will either have tougher leaves that will perk up in a few days (especially after a week of nice warm rain), or the wilted ones will fall off and a new set of leaves will take their place.

lisaoliver, my daylilies show no signs at all of having suffered during our cold spell. Real tough guys!

Anyone: are your irises budding yet? I planted a whole bunch of beardeds last fall, and spotted a bud on one this morning.

Sharpsville, IN


I also have a large magnolia. This is my first spring with it, and it was blooming beautifully before the cold weather set in again. Needless to say, the blooms are now brown. However, I never saw any foliage on it. Will the foliage still come in? Is it typical for magnolias to bloom flowers before there is any foliage?

carrieebryan: No buds for my bearded iris yet; I'm hoping within the next week I'll see something.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I think the magnolia is fine.
I am surpeised there would be any buds on bearded iris already, I think it's very early for that.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The deciduous magnolias often (if not always) bloom before the leaves come out. Whether the leaves will come out as normal depends on whether the leaf buds were damaged in the cold, if they were then the leaves may be a little late showing up.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 5b)

Thank you, CARRIEEBRYAN. That is just the good news I was looking for. This is such a great website. I love that so many respond and even someone in my own area. I am definitely not an expert fact, I need all the help I can get.

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