Keep An Eye Out For Late Spring Frosts!
Even though we are now in Mid-May and well into spring, it’s never an impossibility that gardeners can be caught out with a sudden spell of late spring frosts. Even though the number of frosty days during spring has dropped over the years, it can still pose as a threat to your summer plants and vegetables that you may already have outside.
Firstly, spring frosts can damage younger plants and newly-opened leaves and flowers. Spring frosts can also kill the new tender growth plants such as courgettes or sweetcorn, as these tend to be grown outside during late spring to summer. If killed by the frost the plant may never recover. We suggest you actively keep an eye on the weather before planting anything out using the Met Office forecasts – if the night temperature is forecast to dip below 5c take the following actions to protect your tender plants.
Protect plants from late frost using an Unheated Propagator
If you have an unheated propagator such as the Vitopod or Unapod that is ideal, as you can sit your plants in there, giving them light and air during the day and placing them back in the propagator overnight. This way you gradually allow them to get ventilation during the night, and before the end of May you will be able to reintroduce the plants outside.
Protect plants from late frost using horticultural fleece
Once the time comes for them to be planted out and a frost is forecast, ensure you have a horticultural garden fleece at the ready to place over your spring plants before the sun goes down. Using a horticultural fleece keeps encloses the warm air to prevent frost damage. Read our guide on how to choose a frost fleece.
Use a cloche or frost tunnel to protect plants
If you have started summer flowering bulbs and bedding in pots then we suggest moving them into a greenhouse or your home for the night. Alternatively you can use a cloche that provides overnight warmth and protection. You can chose to place a plastic dome cloche over smaller vulnerable plants and developing perennials. You can even use a frost tunnel to protect more of your frost susceptible plants. This way the tunnel can hang over the plant but not touching the leaves, keeping them protected. The next day when the sun returns you can remove these protection fleeces or cloches.
Protect hanging baskets from late frost
For your garden hanging baskets, we suggest you plant them up now but keep them in your greenhouse, porch or conservatory until the risk of frost has passed – hopefully late May/ early June. The protection gained from keeping them inside a greenhouse or conservatory glass will really encourage their growth.
Ensure you keep watering and feeding your plants frequently throughout spring, as the warmer weather can dry out your compost when hanging in the air.
Avoid pruning plants until after the frost is gone
If we do happen to have a late frost, ensure you don’t prune any deceased looking and injured shoots immediately. We suggest waiting a month after and then evaluate what the harm was and eradicate the dead growth using your knife.
In conclusion, be prepared for the unpredictable weather in the UK, but we are hoping the sunny weather continues. Even consider planting some hardy plants such as lavender or holly to maintain some colour to your garden whatever the weather. Check out our frost protection for plants and other frost tips and advice to keep your plants protected.