How to Save Vegetable Plants After a Frost

how to protect vegetable plants from frost damage

Generally, frost doesn’t spell well for vegetable plants. Therefore, as a gardener, you must strive to look for ways to protect your plants from them. However, the good news is that you can still save your vegetable plants after a frost.

But how can you save these vegetable plants after a frost? You can save them by pruning and removing the dead ones to prevent them from affecting the others. Although some plants can recover on their own, your help is needed to quicken their recovery.

In this article, we will be sharing in detail how to save vegetable plants after a frost. In the end, you will no longer have any reason to panic whenever you discover frost-damaged vegetable plants.

Let’s get started!

Frost and Vegetable Plants | What You Must Know

How to Save Vegetable Plants After a Frost

Vegetable plants can be divided into two groups; those that can survive the frost effect and those that can’t survive the frost effect.

Therefore, you must have full knowledge of each of these categories so you can be sure of cultivating the perfect vegetable at the right time of the season so it can survive and produce rather than die.

You must know and follow a few specific things to save your vegetable plants from total damage after your garden experiences frost threat and season.

After frost, you will discover two kinds of damage changes in your vegetable plants; in some plants, there’s foliage damage with discolored and burned leaves, while in others, the frost damage can get all the way to the tip structure or roots.

In the latter case, sudden wearing out of the external areas of the plants is undoubtedly a sign of frost damage because the puncturing of the cells will cause the plant’s content to leak out.

Also, the plants turn crispy, brown or in few cases black, whichever be the damage case; try to learn and understand how to save the plants after a frost.

How to Save Vegetable Plants After a Frost

Below are some things you should consider doing to restore the health of your vegetable plants after a frost damage:

1. Begin with damage limitation & control

Typically, after a frost, you are bound to discover so many damaged vegetable plants in your garden, which possesses areas of brown and drooping foliage.

They may or may not be dead. Whenever a frost occurs, the water freezes in the leaf and stem systems, freezing fragile capillaries.

These occurrences can lead to significant damage to the leafy tissues and desiccate the plant, as water is frozen and then bursts from the plant. Now, the question is, where do you start from?

Well, first, you don’t just start pruning until you are able to discover how well they faired. Secondly, at this stage, you can get rid of warm-season annuals like marigolds or petunias. Remember, these warm-season annuals already come with expiring dates.

Well, the next thing to do in the damage limitation and control stage is to be patient, and while doing that, continue watering because you might be marveled to see it alive once more when you had thought it wouldn’t survive.

If this stage doesn’t work, you can now go over to the next stage, which is pruning.

2. Pruning

We have two ways by which plants can be pruned. Each of both ways lies in the severity of the damage.

If you notice that the inner part of the plant is not damaged, unlike the outer parts, you prune, using loppers and hand pruners. If the external parts have damaged, you can prune using a pruning saw.

However, if you prune the damaged area of your vegetable plant, it makes it look healthier while also producing fresh and beautiful branches.

Below are the ways you can prune your vegetable plants to save them after a frost.

  • If you find out there are no weather updates on any other subsequent frost, you are free to prune the damaged vegetable plant.
  • Cut to a bud that is free from damage.
  • Once you are done pruning, you can now apply an all-purpose fertilizer to enhance a vegetable plant rebirth and growth.
  • If a “frost pocket” was caused by a hedge or fence, improve ice drainage in the lower growth.
  • If you discover that any of the plant shrubs have pulled out of the ground, there is a need to put them back in.
  • Establish a shelterbelt for more shelter in gardens that are prone to cold wind exposure.

3. Take the vegetable plants inside

Another way you can save a vegetable plant after a frost is by moving the damaged plants away from a scorching area, be it a wood fire or radiator, and instead take them inside for light warmth.

Most gardeners will try to defrost them by putting them nearer to a fierce fire, but it’s not safe for them. The following are the steps to undertake after taking them indoors to save them after a frost;

  • ​Locate an area of your home that is devoid of direct exposure to the heat of the sun.
  • Keep the vegetable plants there for at least two days.
  • Water the plants with about 1 inch in depth. Allow water to completely drain from the container. One cause of frost damage is when ice crystals siphon moisture out of the leaf. Vegetable Plants require water to survive in the weeks ahead; therefore, ensure you constantly water the plants as you did before they were damaged by frost.
  • Avoid applying fertilizer to a vegetable plant that is just recovering because fertilizers enhance the development of fresh shoots. Note that a frost-damaged plant that is trying to recover cannot cope with fresh shoot growths.
  • After one week of taking the damaged plants inside the house, trim off some dead flowers.
  • After a few months into recovery, prune dead leaves. Make sure you don’t trim foliage when the plant is still recovering because, if you do, it will develop fresh growth, which the vegetable plant cannot deal with.

Final Thoughts

We urge you to always try not to give up on a frost-damaged vegetable plant, especially one that’s of a very high value. Some plants are resilient to frost and may recover in time, maybe in the early summer.

So, you have to be patient to see if it will recover and regrow. If, after mid-summer, the vegetable plants have not re-grown, you are now free to consider its replacement.

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