First Frost Warning: What it means for you and your outdoor plants

Usually during the month of September, we will start to see warnings for the first frost of the season.  Here in Zone 5, first frost warnings have started for the 2013 season.

What does a frost warning mean?

Generally, a frost warning means that temperatures will dip down into the 30s, creating a frost on plants, grass and cars.

What happens during the first frost of the season?

  • Annuals will be finished for the season.  Many plants will turn brown, including their leaves and flowers.
  • Vegetables in the garden will be finished for the season.
  • Some hardy flowers, like mums, will survive the first frost.  They usually survive until a hard frost occurs, with temperatures dipping into the twenties.

One positive result of the first frost is that mosquitoes will not survive the cold temperatures.

What should you do to prepare for the first frost?

  • Cut your final batch of flowers and put them in a vase indoors
  • Harvest all of your vegetables.  This includes tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers.
  • Cover any plants which you want to save.

What can you do to extend your growing season?

If there will be just one or two nights with low temperatures expected, you may want to consider extending your growing season.

  • Bring potted plants indoors
  • Cover up flowers and vegetables to protect them from the frost.  In the past, I have used sheets and lightweight blankets.  Large pieces of plastic and brown paper bags  will also work, if there isn’t any wind.

Happy Fall!

You may also find these articles helpful:

Things to plant this fall

What’s Blooming in August

It’s Time to Put Down Step 4 Fertilizer

When Should You Plant Grass Seed?

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