Are your garden plants ready for a deep chill, possibly 5 degrees? Every ten to fifteen years East Texas gets a bitter cold wave like Christmas of ’83 when temperatures plunged to almost zero.
The plans you make now can help protect your plants. Choices for plants extremely sensitive to freezing are limited: move the plants to a protected area or try to bring some protection to the plant.
Move the plant into an enclosed patio, the greenhouse, the garage, anywhere out of the weather. Water deeply to help the plant tolerate this move. Or you can wrap the plant with cloth, not plastic film. Cover will help protect the plant from
frost, but not from freezing. Layer the cover to ensure no part of the plant touches cover material that is directly exposed to the elements. A light bulb on an outdoor extension cord, or some other heat source, inside the cover will provide some degree of protection.
Your other defenses are to ensure your plants are watered regularly and mulched heavily. Water deeply on a regular basis and pile on extra mulch. If winter brings a hard freeze your plants will have a better chance of surviving.
Don Davis, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service