How to Use Frost BlanketsGardening Tools Last Updated On 09/18/2023
Frost blankets are often used by professional gardeners, but there is no reason you can't use them for your plants. There are many home gardeners who opt to use frost blankets with a great success.
Frost blankets are handy because they can be used to protect the garden plants when temperatures go down. This protection is very important, because frost can quickly damage garden plants and even ruin your whole garden in no time.
To avoid this, use a handy frost blanket whenever temperature drops significantly and there's a strong wind that will cause even more damage to your plants if they are unprotected.
The Importance of Frost Blankets
Before you use a frost blanket, you need to understand why they are made and how they can work to protect your plants.
Essentially, a frost blanket is made to "zone up" the covered area in one zone. Think about it as a coat for your plants. It's there to protect it from cold and frost so it keeps them warm and able to thrive even in bad weather.
What about the Wind Chills?
Another thing to ask yourself is what to do in the case of a wind chill: what happens to the blanket in this case and how are the plants affected? For example, say that the temperature is 28 and you have a 24 degree frost blanket to protect your plants. What happens in the case of a strong wind? Does it affect plants under the blanket? Essentially, how much temperature protection will the plants lose due to wind-chill?
It's important to understand that only humans are affected by wind-chills. A wind chill estimates the amount of heat loss from warm-bodied creatures as the wind goes over the exposed parts of the body. This doesn't affect plants, because they don't generate heat the way we do.
In other words, they are not directly affected by the wind. If they are under cover they will not be damaged or affected in any way by the wind.
The Dew Point
The dew point is something you wan to keep in mind. That's the temperature point in which the air reaches water saturation. It has serious effects on vegetation and the precise dew points can be calculate using scientific methods.
What it's important to know is that water vapor helps slowing the temperature fall. If there is a high dew point, radiant heat losses are slowed. However, if the dew point is low, the temperature may rapidly fall.
This is what you should feel concerned about and this is what might affect the effectiveness of your frost blanket. To improve your frost blanket, you may add mild heat under it. However, it's important that the heat introduced is very mild. You may use Christmas lights or milk jugs full of water that have absorbed the sun during the day. This will help keep the optimal temperature under the frost blanket even when outside conditions are harsh.
Photo credit: Emily Neef