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The cold snap isn’t just impacting our native wildlife. Frost and snow can also wreak havoc in our gardens, causing the growth of outdoor plants and shrubs to stop.

As Chris Bonnett of GardeningExpress.co.uk explains: “Both hot and cold weather can affect the health of a plant. Cold temperatures freeze the cells of a plant, causing damage and interrupting the way nutrients and water flow around it.

“The growth will stop and some plants will even go dormant to avoid as much damage as possible. “

But there are ways to protect your plants from freezing temperatures.

“Whether cold air harms your plants depends on how long the low temperatures stay, where your plants are located, and what steps you take to protect them,” says Chris.

“Even the simplest measures can help. Covering tender plants overnight with an upturned bucket or flowerpot is a very quick and easy step to take, as is covering larger shrubs with an old sheet.

Here, Chris’s top tips for protecting your plants when the temperatures drop.

Shot of frosted thistles in the garden

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1. Water your plants

Continue to water your plants in cold weather, but do so in the middle of the day when the temperatures are a bit warmer. Plants still lose moisture from their leaves and may be unable to draw water from their roots if the ground is frozen.

2. Plant location

If you have potted plants, place them in a sheltered location and wrap the sides of the pots. Bubble wrap or fleece are both good to use.

Frosty yellow Rudbeckia flower also known as Echinacea

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3. Protect tender plants

Cover tender plants in freezing weather with an upturned bucket or flowerpot. It only takes a few minutes but can make a huge difference.

4. Protect shrubs and trees

Too big for an overturned bucket? Cover tall shrubs and trees with an old sheet, a large piece of cloth, or anti-freeze rags and fleece blankets.

Winter Garden

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5. Mulch and straw

For a short cool time, cover the soil around the plants with mulch or straw. When the temperature starts to rise, remove it.

6. Use a windbreaker

Try to create a windbreak for taller plants. This will give them some protection from the icy winds.

Gel

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7. Do not bring plants inside

Don’t be tempted to bring your favorite plants indoors on a cold day. The sudden change in temperature can kill them.

8. Snow conditions

Snow can act as an insulator, protecting plants from cold and frost. After heavy snowfall, shake off excess snow from tall trees, hedges and bushes to prevent them from being disfigured by the extra weight. Avoid walking on a snow-covered lawn as this will damage the grass below.

frost roses - frost

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9. Do not panic

If your plants are showing signs of damage, don’t panic. Wait until the weather warms up and new shoots start to appear before you start cutting. Prune off the damaged parts once you see the new growth.

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