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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Do's and Don'ts to Protect Plants From Freezing

Q. Are there any do’s and don’ts you can give regarding covering plants to protect them from the winter weather here in Las Vegas. I have some small citrus that are in the ground. 

A. This past week we had freezing damage up in the Northwest part of the Valley. Probably the single best publication on this topic comes out of Arizona and you can download it below. I have never thought much about using Christmas tree lights around trees or shrubs unless you can capture that heat. And those little LED lights don't put out much heat. In my opinion, the most sustainable way is to find landscape microclimates and cover plants with a blanket of some sort. 

Stay away from open areas that get windy and narrow passageways between homes. These narrow spots tend increase wind speed. The two damaging factors are low temperature and wind. Focus on these two factors to protect your plants.I worry a little bit right now with this unexpected cold weather about early snowfall. There are still a lot of leaves on the trees and if we get some snow, will see plenty of damage.

Streets that run North and South in the Valley tend to get colder than streets running East and West.I like to call these urban canyons.

Protect from cold damage click here

Cold damage to Sago Palm
Cold damage to bottlebrush
Cold damage to star Jasmine
Cold damage to Mesquite
Cold damage to agave


  1. There is a continuing discussion of Christmas lights here:
    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/azgard/msg1216581728447.html [see all the way near the bottom of the thread for C7 and C9 bulbs]

    They are likely worthless without frost covering. They put out 5-7W each (incandescent) and a string of 25 runs about $17. May be cheaper sale after Christmas which doesn't do much good this year.

    For serious cold protection wool army blanket cover and a 100W bulb under the tree. Personally, I don't care to go to such extremes and would rather do without the tree/plant. And your neck of the woods is even colder and longer than in Phoenix. We came very close this morning but have really yet to hit freezing here.

  2. Hello Bob,

    1. My friends, who have successfully grown citrus trees in a protected area at their home, use Christmas tree strings with the larger incandescent, C7, 5 watt bulbs or C9, 7 watt bulbs, during freezing weather.

    2. Although not many vendors still sell the incandescent strings, they are still being manufactured. This may eventually change as incandescent bulbs are gradually phased out, starting with the larger wattage bulbs first.