Recovering From Frost

15 Jan 2021

Winter frosts take their toll on any garden. No matter how much we prepare for it, there may always be those plants that we lose, winter flowers that just don’t make the cut, and patches of lawn that may never recover. But as we come out of the worst frosts (we hope) there are a number of things that we can do to help improve the appearance of our gardens.

Removing your fleece

When it comes to removing your frost fleecing, it is important to be delicate and take care. Even if the plant underneath you believe to be quite sturdy, the winter chill may have taken its toll, meaning that it may be more fragile than when it was wrapped.
With snow and heavy frost being the flavour this winter, we appreciate that many people will have chosen to leave the fleecing on all season, rather than taking it off for breathing periods. Where this is the case, your plants may have started to form an attachment to the fleece, from small twigs getting stuck in the fleece (particularly at the top where the weight of snow will have forced it down) to new sprouts growing into the fleece.
When removing your fleece, slowly peel back starting in one section, and peel away from your plants gently. Keep an eye out for any damage that you may have on your plant.
Once the fleece is off, keep an eye on the weather reports in case they need to go back on, as we know how unpredictable the weather in the UK can be.

Frost damaged plants

Some plants that have received damage from the frost may be saved, however, not all will recover. Frost damage usually affects the cells in a plant, essentially killing the cells. If there are too many cells damaged the plant will be unable to recover and it might be time to move on. This is usually the case where the plant has been exposed to long term heavy frost (in particular in a sunny spot as the sun will defrost the plant too quickly, damaging more cells).
For plants that have small amounts of frost damage, bringing them into warmer conditions, and ensuring they are hydrated can help to improve their appearance. This includes moving them into sheds, greenhouses and garages. Once they are warmer and hydrated, you may then look at pruning the dead sections, doing this in the cold can or when they are dehydrated can lead to further damage.

Past resurrection

If you have decided that a number of plants in your garden are beyond saving, now starts the question of when to dig them up without disturbing those around them and leaving the ground in the best condition. Here we advise that you leave them in the round until the ground has completely thawed out and the danger of harsh frost is behind us. Digging out dead plants during frosty conditions can disturb the ground and reduce the protected nutrients underneath the layer of frost. This will also help to reduce the risk to other roots in the area.

Pruning surviving plants

Hopefully you are reading this thinking how lucky you have been that the majority (or all) of your plants have survived the harsh weather. That’s great! That’s what we love to hear! To ensure that they remain healthy until the weather improves, we recommend that you avoid pruning until the frost risk is truly behind us. We know that there may be a few dead stems and heads here and there, but these are currently acting as protection to reduce the healthy plants exposure to the frost.

Here at Abingdon Complete Garden Services, we are on hand year-round for all of your gardening needs. From frost recovery, to regular or one off garden maintenance and even laying your new patio and erecting fencing our team is on hand to help. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you and get your work booked in!

Abingdon's Complete Garden Service Ltd.,
50 Meadowside,
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
OX14 5DX
01235 533193