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Protecting plants from winter’s chill

Looks like the first blast of winter found its way to Brookhaven. This may cause some problems as many of our landscapes have not acclimated, due to mild temperatures we have enjoyed the past month.

Here are few tips that will help you protect your plants during these cold spells:

• Make sure plants are well watered. The water helps to insulate the root system during cold snaps. As soil or container moisture decreases in temperature, heat is released to the root zone providing some protection.

• Maintain 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of your plants. This conserves water and acts as an insulation blanket for the roots.

• Container plants can be moved into the garage or any protected location and moved back out when temperatures moderate.

Even with providing protection, plant injury may occur from low temperatures. Herbaceous plants will show damage immediately while our woody plants are a different story. Many may not show the full extent of damage for several weeks or months. Don’t be in a rush to prune branches. It’s better to wait and see if recovery will occur.

Rebecca Bates is director of the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Service. To contact her, call 601-835-3460.