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Protection Techniques to Prevent Freeze Damage to Plants

By Cathy McKenna Master Gardener

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is preset

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree

Trees are beautiful gifts from nature. They provide shading for roofs, walls, windows, and doorways. They can decrease cooling costs with their shade on south and west exposures. They can screen air conditioning outdoors to reduce energy consumption and improve the aesthetic appearance of your home or business.

Trees should be selected that tolerate local conditions and climate. The United States is divided into zones which reflect minimum winter temperatures this can be viewed in the USDA Hardiness Zone Map

Many factors including soil type, drainage, moisture, humidity, and exposure to wind temperature and sun impact your tree’s survival.

Protection techniques include intervention to prevent freeze damage to plants. The most common interventions include:

>> Water plants several days or more before cold weather threatens this relieves stress especially with drought. Water also holds warmth with a slow release…slower than air or plant surfaces. Watering your plants right before a freeze. A detailed specific instruction can be attained @

>> Adding heat if it is going to get too cold. Even a simple cover to protect your plants, adds a source of heat,

>> Add soil which is a good insulator. Citrus growers will pile up a cone of soil encircling the base of the tree’s trunk. This protects the lower trunk.

>> Specific detail instructions for application of the above techniques can be attained @

This fall and winter protect your trees and plants honor the beauty of your garden!

References: Texas Master Gardener Handbook (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension 2019); Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Frosts and Freezes.

If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at and


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