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Covering in pine needles to protect from frost

 
Posts: 239
Location: 9A Marion County Fl
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I have alot of baby confederate jasmine plants, ( maybe 4-6 inches tall max ) we just recently had a freeze in N florida and temps went down to 24 degrees, the plants are 2+ hrs away from my home in 1 gallon containers. I went there to cover the plants, stayed the night and uncovered at 5.30 A.M cause I had to leave to get back to work.

They were uncovered these several hours at these low temps early that morning, the next night got down to 30 and they were uncovered then as well. Many of them suffered frost damage. Just the top foliage thankfully.

I simply cannot babysit these plants, I did not know that N florida got this cold, I have never lived there and I have never paid attention to these sorts of things, Ive only recently become active in the plant world.

These plants are very important to me, I have a 6 ft chain link fence around the property that these 500 jasmine plants will some day hopefully cover and block out my view to the outside world.

My only option ( cause Im running out of money ) is to place them in the forest behind me and outside my fence. I no longer have a forest of trees on my property, I removed them to do excavation work.

I believe they will be safe there, pretty remote area, Im assuming if anyone were to stumble across them they would be disinterested cause they clearly arent pot plants and so of no use to the locals.

Ive placed about half back there now, under some very large pine trees, Ive also covered them with pine needles.....just enough so that I cannot see them, not a super heavy layer.

Did I do the right thing? Is there anything more I should do, maybe I should cover them with a super thick layer? Pine needles are easy to gather and there is an abundance. Thank-you
 
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how many of these potted jasmine plants.
might want to sell them to someone south of I-4/frostproof-- there really is a reason Frostproof is named Frostproof with the exception of the big freeze of , I hink it was 1984 or 85
 
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Tough situation.

I am not sure how many plants we are talking about here, but I once had an issue with tomato plants planted in spring before a late freeze came through.  My approach was to get heavy duty black garbage bags (30 gallon) and fill them with maybe 10 gallons of water.  The garbage bags sat out all day, soaked up sun and got surprisingly warm.  At night as things cooled off I had a little heat bubble around my tomatoes.  The next morning there was indeed a heavy frost all round except for my garden which was healthy and frost free.

I had a bit of time to prepare, but this worked.  You could also use dark rocks or fill up garbage bags with sand to get much the same effect.

This worked well for me and is maybe something that you could make work for you as well.

Eric
 
bruce Fine
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I understand your wanting to block out the outside world with these. but if they cannot survive through the winter  or summer maybe they are not the right type of plant to use where your property is located.
I'd cash in on them while they are still alive and invest in something else.
just a thought on it from an armchair quarterback
 
bruce Fine
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in that part of Florida there are quite a few types of pine trees that grow real fast and are are very hearty and will create a life long green barrier
 
Jason Walter
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Location: 9A Marion County Fl
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The plants themselves thrive here, they are young and tender so they need extra care.
 
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: Eastern Great Lakes lowlands, zone 4/5
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You may find this Q&A useful: https://gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/55743/what-are-hazards-of-cold-weather-and-frost-to-tree-seeds-and-seedlings-in-northe

Though that is about a northern context, the principles of protecting potted plants from frost sounds the same.

A takeaway that feels most relevant for you is, the plants will be safe when planted but are not safe now because they are in pots. They need to be in pots because you don't want to plant them in their permanent home until they are more mature(?) But can you simulate 'planting' the pots in a safe nursery space?

Basically, buffering the pots from temperature fluctuations is key. If the leaves get knocked out from frost, won't they come back? I figure you need to keep the pots elevated so they drain, you can then bury the pots so the roots are buffered from temperature extremes. Piling up pine needles could work but they may blow away, and maybe rodents will be attracted to them and in-turn to the potted plant roots (that is an issue with piling leaves up for this purpose in the north). Even better is piling up soil around the pot sides (just make sure to mark them so you don't lose track of where the pots are!) It is as if you are planting the pots, but above ground so they don't drown.

As for where you do this, in a forest seems best since trees moderate air temperature, but you may have other issues e.g. with shade.
 
Jason Walter
Posts: 239
Location: 9A Marion County Fl
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Thank you for the link and to all that replied

My concern is that the pine needles may not be good for the seedling plants because of the acidity and secondly I question how deep I can bury these plants under the needles, at this point the area gets fairly strong filtered light and Im assuming although they are under these needles now its not so thick as to create a pitch black environment.
 
R Spencer
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: Eastern Great Lakes lowlands, zone 4/5
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Can you bury them in soil, like the soil they would be planted in anyway? And can you leave the root crown and canopy unburied so it has light exposure and does not get smothered?
gift
 
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