As the year approaches its coldest phase, taking care of plant life becomes extremely important.

The harsh cold snap has the capability to wipe off the young and small plants in their growing stage.

If you don’t want the trauma of your lovingly nurtured plants dying in front of your eyes, you need to search for ways to protect them.

During May, the heavy winter wind causes the frost to lay low on the ground. 

Even your hardy plants may die if you become too lazy to take corrective steps for frost prevention.

For that reason, today, we will cover how to protect plants from frost.

Related Blog: Lawn Care Schedule: Bring Out the Green Side All Year-Round

Frost Formation: How Does Frost Form on the Lawns?

An explanation of frost formation on plants

Before learning about frost prevention, you should have some knowledge of how it forms on our lawns.

Frost is basically the water vapour present in the air. When the air touches anything that has a temperature below the freezing point, the moisture turns into ice.

This frost can seriously harm the crops. It can destroy the plants that have thin skin. These plants include zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, and the list goes on.

When frost accumulates on the ground, the crops that grow underneath the ground freeze. So, you can anticipate how dangerous it can be for plants and their root system. 

The plants in the lawn expel energy repeatedly during the day and night. This energy is what gives the plant some warmth to survive the cold waves.

During the day, the sun helps the plant by replacing the energy plants give out by radiant heat. However, after the sun sets, there is nothing to support the energy cycle.

Consequently, the plants reach a freezing temperature, and you will witness frost on the leaves. 

According to the National Garden Bureau, frost normally takes place overnight. 

For frost to go away, you have to wait till August or the end of September.

What Influences the Plant’s Susceptibility to Frost?

An infographic explaining what plants are susceptible to frost

When a plant experiences frost, the fluids inside it are disrupted, and the plant dries out, leaving behind a crispy brown.

Some elements that influence a plant’s susceptibility to freezing-related harm include

Water Levels: Well-watered plants are more resilient to freezing temperatures than dry plants. An additional factor in the soil’s insulation is the water content.

Plants Recently Pruned: The plant is more vulnerable to frost damage in newly trimmed areas. You need to follow the right technique for winter pruning.

Active Plants: Compared to a tree or plant that is actively growing, a dormant plant will sustain less damage. Because of this, plants that have not yet acclimated to lower temperatures may often suffer greater harm from an early frost than from one later in the season.

Recently Planted: New plants are more susceptible to cold damage since their roots are less developed.

Container-Gown Plants: Compared to in-ground plants, container-grown plants are more susceptible to temperature swings. In a freeze, they are more prone to sustain harm.

Lower temperatures, longer exposure to freezing temperatures, and rapid drops in temperature cause more damage.

Certain plants are more resilient to frost than others. The moisture within the plant’s cells freezes and expands, just like any frozen water does. 

This can put stress on the cells and harm the plant as a whole. The plant suffers the most when the ice thaws quickly in the morning sun.

If you have frost-damaged plants, wait to remove the damaged foliage until the frosts have passed. 

The dead foliage will serve as a shield against future frosts. 

How to Protect Plants from Frost

An infographic on frost prevention tips

To save your cherished lawn throughout the cold winter, here are some frost prevention methods.

1. Find out when to Expect Low Temperature

Understanding the dates of your first and final frost is crucial for frost prevention. If you live in Canada, you can search for them here by entering your zip code.

You may have heard that frost formation happens when the temperature reaches 32℉ or 0℃. 

Nevertheless, this is not the case every time. In the low-lying shaded regions, frost can form even when the temperature is higher than that.

On clear, calm evenings with few clouds and low humidity, frost is most likely to occur. The temperature will also drop due to cold winds.

The sun warms the earth during the day, and that heat is transferred into the night. Thus, the hour before dawn will bring the lowest temperatures of the night.

When the winter is ready to take over, start paying attention to the weather forecast to know that you need to work on frost prevention for tender plants.

You can even get a thermometer that is connected to an app. If not accurate, such apparatus can give you a close number of the temperature of your yard.

2. Cover the Plants With Thick Fabric 

Gather blankets, oversized towels, and worn-out bedspreads. For frost prevention, cover plants with them lightly, using stakes to provide support as needed. 

To create a tiny dome of insulation, make sure the plant cover reaches all the way to the ground. 

Use bricks, stones, or anything else heavy to secure the cloth to the ground if the wind is a concern. 

Paper or plastic do not offer the same level of protection as woven fabric. To protect your fabric layer from potential precipitation, you can place plastic sheets on top of it. 

To prevent plants from overheating, remove your coverings before midday. 

3. Keep a Close Eye on the Grass

Frost-covered lawns can sustain noticeable harm to their turf from walking on them. 

The first sign of damage is a discolouration of the leaves, which eventually turns brown or tan. 

Browning of the grass indicates many problems in the turf. If you leave the brown patches on their own without taking any measures to fix them, gradually, the entire grass will die.

When the weather cools down enough to cause frost, make sure you avoid walking on the grass until the sun melts the frost. 

For frost prevention, you need to evaluate the condition of your grass every day.

In cold weather, you may feel like taking a cup of hot chocolate outside and taking a stroll in the garden. 

The crisp and crunching sound of the grass as you walk across it may sound satisfying. However, stepping on your frost-covered grass can seriously and permanently harm it. 

Your grass blades’ internal moisture content is the sole reason for it. Your grass plants suffer severe harm when the fluid freezes because the water molecules expand and break through the cell walls. 

The issue arises when your grass is stressed for an extended length of time by either a severe frost or light freezing that persists for longer than three nights.

So, for frost prevention, you need to avoid walking on frozen grass.

If you notice any brown patches on the grass, read our blog on grass revival to revive dead grass.

Learn More: 7 Effective Remedies to Tackle Brown Patches in the Lawn

4. Introduce Warmth to the Young Plants

This technique for frost prevention is similar to heating the surrounding air with radiators. 

While the weather is not too cold, fill up any size bottle or jug with water and set it outside in your garden. 

It should be enough for each plant to have one huge gallon jug. 

Water-filled jugs or bottles shield plants from potential frost, which absorb heat during the day and release it at night.

You can safeguard young plants or seedlings, such as recently planted tomatoes or peppers. 

You may set out and establish plants early when you use warmer containers. This frost prevention method is useful to shield late-season frosts from damaging vegetable plants.

5. Mulch the Lawn 

If you are the gardener of your lawn, you may have done mulching to inhibit weed growth.

This frost prevention technique follows the same principle as the previous one.

Essentially, it keeps the garden beds warm. As you’re effectively laying a carpet of mulch to keep the flowerbeds warm, mulching borders can also be an excellent way to protect plants during a cold snap. 

Mulch plants in thick borders to help retain moisture and prevent soil and plant roots from freezing.

6. Get Cloche For the Lawn 

You can use a cover to shield smaller plants and seedlings from the cold. 

Plants can be covered with cloches, which are bell-shaped covers made of plastic or glass. 

Cloches are available for purchase or can be handmade from repurposed materials. 

For example, you can cut the old glass bottles in your home and slip them over to the plants that require frost prevention.

Use a sharp knife to turn large plastic bottles or milk containers into homemade cloches by cutting them off.

Then, embed them into the soil around small plants and seedlings to provide protection.

Take them down throughout the day so the plants can absorb the solar energy and warmth.

When seeding immature vegetable crops in the fall, such as broad beans, spinach, scallions, spring onions, and asparagus, cloches work perfectly.

If you can’t get your hands on a cloche, use bubble wrap, newspaper, straw, or other organic materials.

7. Protect Plants Separately

When planting, place hot caps on rigid plastic containers with holes for ventilation over each seedling. 

Hot caps for frost prevention function similarly to cloches or miniature greenhouses.

For your comfort, it eliminates the daily task of putting and taking off the covering by venting holes. 

Use plastic two-litre bottles or a gallon with the bottom cut off and the lids removed, creating the equivalent of a hot cap. 

When cold weather arrives, start replacing the lids at night.

During the day, the sun’s heat is absorbed by the water. 

The water’s gradual freezing at night releases the sun’s stored radiant heat, keeping the air within the container free of frost.

8. Use Lightbulbs to Generate Heat 

An incandescent lightbulb produces enough heat to prevent a plant from going into deep freeze by raising the temperature of the surrounding air. 

For this method to be effective for frost prevention, bulbs must be near plants. 

Furthermore, if you are planning to use fluorescent lights, they don’t produce sufficient heat for frost prevention. Therefore, they won’t be of much help.

9. Don’t Skip Watering 

It is four times more likely that damp soil will retain heat than dry soil. The soil’s wetness will transfer heat to the soil’s surface, warming the area of the plant. 

For frost prevention, you need to give your plants plenty of water in winter. To effectively protect plants, you may need to use a cloche or blanket after watering them.

10. Stimulate Airflow with Fans 

For frost prevention, farmers typically use a big fan that draws in the cold air and blows warm air to the ground.

Promoting air movement works perfectly for frost prevention at home. However, on a larger scale, carrying it out may be tedious.

When you turn on the fan, ensure that the weather is not breezy or rainy. A fan functions well in a sheltered area.

Also, place the fan where the air flows through most plants.

Read More: Dead Grass Solution: How to Revive Dead Grass


How do I know that my lawn has been damaged from the cold?

Different plants will display different damage symptoms. Generally speaking, the damage is indicated by discolouration, softening, and becoming dry and brittle.

Is frost prevention possible for already damaged plants?

Yes, you can prune the damaged parts. You can wait until they start to produce new growth. This will make it easier for you to decide where to prune.

Do I need to fertilize for frost prevention?

Applying fertilizer may encourage new growth, which is particularly vulnerable to damage from the cold. Furthermore, fertilizer salts have the potential to worsen already stressed root systems.


Frost prevention includes keeping the plants in containers inside, keeping the plants warm, using cloches, watering well, mulching, and covering up with a thick fabric.

If this is your first time managing a lawn, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Talk to the best lawn care professionals near you to save yourself another year of hard work.

Also, if you have any questions regarding how to protect plants from frost, call us any time.