FORT MYERS, Fla.- As you take cover from these chilly temperatures, experts say you should do the same for your plants. Many tropical varieties are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather.
Time is of the essence if you want to protect your plants from tonight's potential freeze. Experts say the sooner you cover your plants with some kind of protective barrier, the better. Insulated cloth is ideal, but even a bed sheet will help your chances for saving the hundreds, or even thousands of dollars rooted in your front yard.
Michelle Martini is taking cover, protecting her plants with odds and ends against tonight's blustering winds and chilly temperatures.
"We bought some stuff from Home Depot, but I ran out, so I decided to put sheets on this side and put bricks around it," Martini said Monday night.
Experts say just about anything you can find in your linen closet will work wonders in protecting your landscaping. But before bundling your plants up, wash them down with water.
"Water is at 72 degrees. So the more water in the ground and the cold hits it, the water warms the temperature and you're going to keep it four or five degrees warmer than if you didn't have all that watered down," Jim Scrivner of Scrivner's Garden Center said Monday.
Covering flower beds and tree roots will likely suffice for more hearty landscaping, but your best bet is to bring in anything you can, particularly tropical plants that are more vulnerable to the cold.
"If possible, bring it in on the inside. At least bring it in to the porch, or bring it in to the windward part of the house, so when the wind blows, it's not hitting it direct," Scrivner said.
Experts say to protect your most pricey plants first, like wrapping the base of your palms. It's a little TLC that'll go a long way in guarenteeing a green front yard through the cold snap.
"Last year, we didn't and we lost them, so we're going to be a little smarter this time around," Martini said.
Experts say to keep plant covers on throughout tomorrow night's chilly weather as well.
If you do find some damage to plants tomorrow, your best bet in saving your landscaping is to wash off any frost on the plants before the sun comes up. Once the sun rises, that frost will act quickly in burning up the plant.