Preventing Frost Damage in Plants

Gardeners put in a lot of work to get their gardens and yards in peak condition. They must keep pests and weeds out and combat threats from weather, like frost.

Frost occurs during cloudless nights as temperatures drop towards freezing. Ice crystals form as the cold air sinks closer to the ground. The vapor then condenses from the air and settles on plant materials. Light frost tends to occur below 40°F, and frost advisories occur between 32-36°F.Frosted Plants

Now, frost doesn’t pose risks to all plants. Tender spring blooms, potted plants, sensitive fruits, vegetables, and perennials are the most vulnerable to being affected by frost. Most plants can withstand a few hours of light frost with minimal to no injury. However, the longer the duration and the lower the temperature, the greater the risk.

Keep an eye out for these signs of frost damage:

  • Outer leaf growth is wilted
  • Droopy leaves
  • Color changes (brown/black patches)
  • Dead/dying leaves

You’ll want to prep your garden and prepare your landscape to prevent frost when overnight temperatures start to become unpredictable. This typically happens early to late spring and well into the fall. Here are some tips for your lawn care in Pittsburgh from the experts at A&N Lawn Care.

Cover Plants

Use a lightweight cloth-like a bed sheet or commercial frost cover to prevent the cool night air from coming in contact with different sensitive plants. You should avoid using plastic because it traps moisture which leads to more damage. Around sunset, drape the lightweight cloth around plants and use rocks or bricks to prevent it from blowing away. Don’t forget about seedlings – cover those with plastic or glass domes to insulate your seedlings.


Bring your vulnerable container plants indoors during the cold weather. Make sure to place them away from heat sources!

Add Water

Keep your plants hydrated! Well-hydrated plants can withstand the effects of a light frost. Water your plants early in the day to allow time for absorption.

Wrap Your Plants

Wrap your plants in burlap to help them withstand temperatures that are near freezing. You will want to make sure you wrap your newly planted trees and shrubs along with your flowering plants. Use wooden stakes around the perimeter of the plant and wrap them in a double layer of burlap.

As the threat of frost begins to loom as we approach colder temperatures, make sure you follow the expert tips to prevent frost damage and maintain your Pittsburgh lawn care. A&N Lawn Services, Inc., has provided Pittsburgh-area nurseries with premier year-round lawn care service for over 20 years. Their garden and greenhouse is located on Reis Run Road offers total landscaping, hardscaping, and lawn care services to the Allegheny and Butler County regions. If you’re looking for some assistance in getting your fall garden ready, contact A&N Lawn Service, Inc., at 412-931-9230.