Pests and Diseases Viewer

Frost



P_frost

Frost

Usually appear in

Autumn to Spring


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Caused By:-     Temperatures below 0 degrees Centigrade

Description

Frost is one of the gardeners best friend, unfortunately if you do not plan properly it can also be one of the gardeners worst nightmares. Frost forms when the temperature for whatever reason falls below 0 degrees Centigrade. Whether friend or foe depends on what you are growing in your garden. If all your plants are hardy you should have very little problems with frost and you should get all the benefits from it. If you grow tender or half hardy plants then frost can be a nightmare at times. There are many types of frost with names like Radiation, Rime, Window, Hoar, Advection etc. As a friend frost kills off many unwanted pests and diseases. It also breaks down soil that has been ploughed or dug over and make the fine tilth required for planting. This is especially important when the soil is clay based and heavy. It helps to break down the fallen leaves making it easier for animals and fungi to recycle it. In the first place it breaks down mountains releasing minerals to be washed down rivers to form fertile soil. On the foe side it kills of the leaves, stems and roots of tender plants. Some hardy plants might be killed if the temperature falls much below 5 degrees of frost as it may cause the roots of these plants to freeze. Frost causes the water in plant cells to freeze, damaging the cell wall. Frost-damaged plants are easy to spot, their growth becomes limp, blackened and distorted the leaves stays on the plant. The leaves of tender plants take on a translucent appearance. Frost problems are often made worse where plants face the morning sun, as this causes them to defrost quickly, rupturing their cell walls. Periods of cold, frosty weather during April and May can also kill blossom and damage fruit.


Control

There are many things that can be done to protect tender plants. One is to cover them in gardening fleece, a cloth sheet or bubble-wrap. Care must be taken when using bubble-wrap as humid air might be trapped by the plastic and freeze inside the cover or wrapping. Therefore when using bubble wrap allow for ventilation to occur. Mulching around the roots of plants will prevent the regeneration roots to survive. If the frost is light( less than 2 degrees) watering the soil and plants with water during the day might stop frost forming as water has a high heat specificity it slowly gives up that heat when the night comes. Frost might also occur during the day if the temperature of the day temperature is below 0 degrees. As frost is cause by lower temperature it is harder to form on hill sides as the colder air flows down hill and away from plants. Unfortunately if that colder air is trapped in a depression or by enclosed solid fences your garden might be more affected by frost. Avoid cutting down herbaceous plants until the worst of the frost is over as the dead leaves helps to protect the growing tips until the spring. Bringing plants inside during frost is another option when the plants are grown in pots. If the plants are hardy burying the plants in soil is another option as the freezing rarely goes down below about 5 to 15mm below the surface.



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