Share this post TFUPM Posted November 20, 2014

With the holiday season around the corner and colder temperatures sweeping the nation, it’s time to take action to protect your crops from the cold. Plants acclimate to decreases in temperature over time, so drastic and sudden drops are most dangerous. It’s important to be educated and prepared to maintain your crops with varying temperatures. We talked last week about preparing your plants and crops, and now we’ve condensed those tips along with a few more hints and tricks to make sure your crops are coming in as good as ever come spring.

  1. Keep an eye on the weather reports. Cold snaps can happen, even in sunny south Florida. Preparation is the best form of prevention for your crops.

  2. If cold is coming, apply a layer of mulch or green manure, also known as cover crops, to insulate your crops. This can prevent the soil from getting too cool, but be sure to rake it away when the weather gets warmer.

  3. Cover your sensitive crops with a quilt or sheet. Tarp these crops on particularly cold nights when frost is on the forecast. Take it off in daylight hours to make sure the crops get adequate sun exposure.

  4. If a freeze is not on the forecast, be sure to water the crops and soil around them. Wet soil absorbs more heat during the day and can radiate that heat at night. You can trap that heat with insulation.

  5. Create barriers with fences or other plants to protect more sensitive plants and crops from harsh winds.

  6. Think about windbreaks and microclimates in your field of crops. Winds from certain directions and varying levels can affect how cold temperatures affect your crops.

  7. Don’t prune as much at the end of summer into early fall. This can cause new growth that may be more susceptible to changes in temperature.

  8. Weaker plants are much more susceptible to the cold. Inspect for pests and bugs to keep your crops healthy. Treat accordingly.

  9. After a freeze, water your crops to help thaw the soil.

Changing temperatures are manageable as long as you know the signs and take action. Take the time now to make sure your crops are prepared, so you yield the best crops possible once spring rolls around. No need to worry while you’re celebrating the holidays with your family and friends. Happy growing, and happy holidays!

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