The National Weather Service issued a freeze watch today for Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. In Reston, the freeze watch is in effect from Friday evening through Saturday morning.
Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing after sunset Friday night and through Saturday morning at around 10 a.m.
Freezing temperatures may kill or damage sensitive vegetation like outdoor plants, according to NWS.
Freeze Watches are in effect for those portions of our region which are still considered to have an active growing season. Northern Maryland may see a freeze tonight, while they and the rest of the region will definitely see a freeze Friday night! pic.twitter.com/vGQXkRAu2W
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) November 9, 2017
The Farmers Almanac provides the following tips to protect your plants from frost:
If a frost is predicted, cover your plants, both to retain as much soil heat and moisture as possible and to protect them against strong winds, which can hasten drying and cooling. You can use newspapers, baskets, tarps, straw, and other materials to cover your plants. Cover the whole plant before sunset to trap any remaining heat. Be sure to anchor lightweight coverings to prevent them from blowing away.
Keep the soil moist by watering your plants the day a frost is predicted.
Overnight temperatures are expected to dip to about 30 degrees, which will kill your cold-sensitive plants if you have already (optimistically?) planted them. Traditionally, the area’s last frost is between April 21-30, according to gardening zone maps.
If you have garden containers, bring them inside where it is warmer. If plants are in the ground, follow these tips from The Garden Helper:
- Water the garden thoroughly before nightfall. The soil will release moisture into the air around your plants during the night, keeping the air somewhat warmer.
- Cover up. By the time it gets dark much of the stored heat in the garden has already been lost. If you have time, build a simple frame around the plant, or row of plants. (Even a single stake can be used in many cases.) Then drape a cover of newspaper, cardboard, plastic tarps, bed sheeting or any other lightweight material over the frame to create a tent. If you don’t have time to create a frame, lay the protective cover directly onto the plant. This will help to slow the loss of heat rising from the foliage and the ground. Remove the covers in the morning, once the frost has thawed, to let the light and fresh air back in, and to prevent overheating by the sun.
- For smaller individual plants you can use glass jars, milk jugs with the bottom removed, paper cups upside down flower pots as heat traps. Don’t forget to remove these covers in the morning.
- You can collect heat during the day by painting plastic milk jugs black and filling them with water. Place them around your plants where they will collect heat during the day. Water loses heat more slowly than either soil or air. This collected heat will radiate out throughout the night.