Forecasts for the next few days have extreme low temperatures, combined with wind. While not as cold as our big December freeze, plants may still be susceptible to additional damage from this weather event.
What’s at risk? Anything planted since the last freeze, anything that has pushed new growth in the last few weeks, and many broad leafed evergreens, such as Daphne, Escallonia, Mexican Orange, Hebe, California Lilac (Ceanothus), Rosemary, Camelia, etc. Also, any winter blooming plants that are in flower, such as some winter camellias, hellebores, and even winter heathers, might suffer loss of flowers, though they are unlikely to take any more damage.
What can you do? With temps forecast for the mid to low teens, the danger to most plants isn’t tissue freezing, it’s dehydration. If possible, get out and water freeze-sensitive plants in the afternoon, while temperatures are above freezing. Protect sensitive plants from the wind by draping weed barrier, Reemay fabric, or old lightweight blankets to reduce water loss from the wind, which just strips moisture out of the leaves of broad leafed plants. Bring container plants into the garage, or a wind-sheltered location up against the house.
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