Protecting Plants In A Freeze: Best Way To Cover And Keep Plants From Freezing

Protect Your Plants In A Freeze – How To Protect Plants From Freezing


Gardeners plant flowers, shrubs and trees that can survive in their garden during typical weather. But what can a gardener do when the weather is anything but typical? Unexpected freezes can devastate landscapes and gardens. It can leave a gardener wondering how to protect plants from freezing and what is the best way to cover and keep plants from freezing.

At What Temperature Do Plants Freeze?

When cold weather comes your way, your first thought will be at what temperature do plants freeze, in other words, how cold is too cold? There is no easy answer to this.

Different plants freeze and die at different temperatures. That is why they are given a hardiness rating. Some plants produce special hormones that keep them from freezing, and these plants have a lower hardiness rating (meaning they can survive colder weather) than plants who produce less of this hormone.

That being said, there is also different definitions of survival. A plant may lose all of its foliage during a freeze and the plant can regrow from the stems or even the roots. So, while the leaves cannot survive a certain temperature, other parts of the plant can.

How to Protect Plants from Freezing

If you are only expecting a light freeze, you may be able to protect plants in a freeze simply by covering them with a sheet or a blanket. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant. The warmth may be enough to keep a plant from freezing during a short cold snap.

For added protection when you protect plants in a freeze, you can place plastic over the sheets or blankets to help keep warmth in. Never cover a plant with just plastic, however, as the plastic will damage the plant. Make sure that a cloth barrier is between the plastic and the plant.

Be sure to remove the sheets and blanket and plastic first thing in the morning after an overnight cold snap. If you do not do so, condensation can build up and freeze again under the covering, which will damage the plant.

When protecting plants in a freeze that is longer or deeper, you may have no choice but to expect to sacrifice all or part of the plant in hopes that the roots will survive. Start by heavily mulching the roots of the plant with either wood mulch or hay. For added protection, you can nestle gallon jugs of warm water into the mulch each night. This will help drive off some of the cold that can kill the roots.

If you have time before a freeze happens, you can also create insulation barriers around a plant as a way how to protect plants from freezing. Tie up the plant as neatly as possible. Drive stakes that are as tall as the plant into the ground around the plant. Wrap the stakes in burlap so that the plant appears to be fenced in. Stuff the inside of this fence with hay or leaves. Again, you can place milk jugs of warm water on the inside, at the base of this fence each night to help supplement the heat. A string of Christmas lights wrapped around the plant can also help add additional heat. As soon as the freeze passes, remove the covering so that the plant can get the sunlight it needs.

Watering the soil (not the leaves or stems of the plants) will also help the soil retain heat and can help the plant’s roots and lower branches survive.

Will warmer weather stop the spread of the coronavirus?

Does the coronavirus get weaker when temperatures rise? Virologist Thomas Pietschmann explains why spring really gives hope and why women have a clear advantage in the fight against the COVID-19 disease.

Could warmer weather slow the spread of the coronavirus? If all goes well, the new virus SARS-CoV-2, may behave like the influenza virus. Then spring, with its rising temperatures, would kill the pathogens — and stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The coronavirus season would pass away just like the annual flu wave, which starts to ebb when winter ends.

Spring may be the season of hope, but it’s still too early to say accurately whether SARS-CoV-2 behaves as the influenza virus. Virologist Thomas Pietschmann says, experts can’t yet predict the trajectory of the virus because «honestly speaking, we do not know the virus yet.»

Pietschmann is a molecular virologist at the Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, called Twincore, in Hanover, Germany. He researches so-called RNA viruses, including for example the hepatitis C virus. SARS-CoV-2 belongs to this group.

Virus? Unknown!

«What’s special about this virus is that humans are confronted with it for the first time. From the data we have from China, we can conclude that the virus has only once passed from an animal to humans and spread from there,» says Pietschmann.

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Unlike influenza viruses, which nearly everyone has been in contact with at some point, our immune system is not prepared for an attack with corona pathogens.

In addition, the external conditions in the northern hemisphere are currently virtually perfect for the rapid spread of the virus. For one thing, there’s the temperature. Respiratory viruses, i.e. those that spread via the respiratory tract, have a particularly easy time when the weather is cool. «Viruses have greater stability at low temperatures. This is similar to food that keeps longest in the refrigerator,» says Pietschmann.

Cool and dry, please!

The warmer it gets, the more difficult the conditions are for many viruses. «The coronavirus is surrounded by a lipid layer, in other words, a layer of fat,» Pietschmann explains. This layer is not very heat-resistant, which means that the virus quickly breaks down when temperatures rise. «Other viruses, such as the norovirus, are more stable because they consist mainly of proteins and genetic material.»

For other pathogens, temperature only plays a subordinate role. The dengue virus, for example, is mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions. But this has less to do with the pathogens liking warm weather: «In this case, it is not the temperature that plays the main role in the spread of the pathogens, but the animal that transmits the virus,» Pietschmann says.

Air humidity also influences the transmissibility of respiratory viruses. Once the pathogens have been expelled from the respiratory tract with a strong sneeze, they literally hang in the air. «On cold and usually dry winter days, the small droplets, together with the viruses, float in the air longer than when the air humidity is high,» Pietschmann elaborates.

In this way, the pathogens can spread rapidly. However, at first they do this quietly and secretly. From the first contact with the pathogens to the first symptoms of the disease, several weeks can pass. The length of this incubation period depends on the characteristics and biology of the virus.

Ask a Vet: How Cold Is Too Cold to Let a Cat Stay Outside?

Every week, we get an expert to answer your pressing pet questions.

Have a question you’d like to ask a vet? Send your query to [email protected] with the subject line “Vet Q.”

Q: Our cat likes to go outside at night. We try to call her back before we go to bed; sometimes she comes, sometimes not. My wife and I always argue about whether to put a lot of effort into getting her to come back in. My wife thinks it’s irresponsible to not go hunting for her if it is too cold. What I want to know is, how cold is too cold to let a cat stay out overnight?

Dr. Chris Miller, AtlasVet DC: First things first, letting your cat outside at all is a big decision. Cats that spend unsupervised time out of doors are exposed to a variety of potential dangers, not just the weather. Other outdoor cats can pick fights to defend their turf or spread potentially fatal infectious diseases, and if your cat hasn’t been spayed or neutered, they can end up helping contribute to the feral cat population. Cars, parasites, and wild animals are all problems of the outside world that can threaten your cat. If you weigh these options and elect to allow your pet to explore outside, make sure to discuss additional vaccinations, preventive medications and annual testing with your veterinarian.

So if your cat goes outside, how cold is too cold? Cats are pretty well adapted for cold weather, but when the temperature dips below freezing they are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. During periods of cold weather, cats will go looking for a warm place to hunker down. Building an outside shelter for a cat can be an inexpensive and fun project for the family. The shelter should be large enough that the cat can turn around in it, and can be constructed of wood or with plastic bins with holes cut in the side for an entrance. Elevating the structure off the ground and providing warm bedding inside will help ensure your feline friend can retreat to safety from the bitter cold. Also, a safe electric heat source can be added for the most luxurious of shelters. Without a safe haven of warmth, cats will go looking for other warm, covered places such as under the hoods of cars. Here, they are protected from the elements and the engine can put off heat hours after it has been turned off, but if the car is started while they are hidden away, they can be severely injured or even killed.

The best way to protect your cat from cold weather is to keep them inside your house or provide an outdoor kitty cottage. Understanding the risks of letting your cat outside and helping minimize them by preparing a shelter, discussing preventative measures with your veterinarian, and getting the whole family involved with the care of the family feline are all helpful in decreasing the dangerous variables of the outside world.

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Children and Colds

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Is your child sneezing, coughing, and complaining about a sore throat? There’s not a parent on the planet who hasn’t been there. Find out how to keep those cold symptoms in check and prevent your kid from getting sick the next time.

What Is a Cold?

More than 200 different viruses can cause this infection, but the rhinovirus is the most common culprit. Antibiotics, which fight bacteria, won’t treat your child’s cold because a cold is a viral illness. Viral illness cannot be treated with antibiotics. В

Except in newborns or in immuno-compromised children, colds in healthy children aren’t dangerous. They usually go away in 4 to 10 days without treatment.

What to Expect

When your child gets a cold, it starts when he has a general feeling of not being well, often followed by a sore throat, runny nose or cough.

At the beginning, the sore throat is due to a buildup of mucus. Later, your child may get a postnasal drip — when the mucus runs down the back of his nose to the throat.

As your child’s cold gets worse, he may wake up with symptoms like these:

  • Watery mucus in the nose
  • Watery or crusty eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough

A cold virus can affect your child’s sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes, and ears. He may also have diarrhea and vomiting.

At first your child may be irritable and complain of a headache and feeling stuffed up. After a while, the mucus coming out of his nose may turn darker and thicker.

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How Many Colds Will My Child Get?

Babies and toddlers often have 8 to 10 colds a year before they turn 2 years old. Kids who are preschool age have around nine colds a year, while kindergartners can have 12 a year. Adolescents and adults get about two to four a year.

Cold season runs from September until March or April, so children usually get sick most often during these months.

How Can I Prevent My Kid From Catching One?

Your child can get sick when someone who’s got a cold touches an object that’s later touched by your child. Door handles, stair railings, books, pens, video game remotes, and a computer keyboard are some common «carriers» of cold viruses. They can live on one of those objects for several hours.


Washing hands is the best defense. Teach your child to do it after every bathroom trip, before every meal, and after playing at school or at home.

It takes 20 seconds of hand washing with warm, soapy water to get rid of germs. Tell your child to sing «Happy Birthday to You» twice to know that he’s washed long enough. Using hand sanitizer is also a good option to prevent the spread of germs.В

If your child has a cold, make sure you protect others from catching it. If he has symptoms, keep him home from school and avoid contact with other children.

Encourage your child to cover his mouth when sneezing and to use a tissue when he blows his nose. If he doesn’t have a tissue, teach him to cough in his sleeve. Remind your child to wash his hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing his nose.

How Do You Treat a Cold?

Are Cold Medicines Safe for Kids?

The FDA and drugmakers say you shouldn’t give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under 4. These include things like:

These drugs are the active ingredients in many brands of kids’ cold and cough medicines.

Generally speaking, children should not be using cough medicines. Coughing is the body’s natural way of helping the body get rid of the cold virus. It’s OK to let your child cough, unless he is in distress.В

When to Call the Doctor

Talk to the pediatrician if your child doesn’t get better after a few days. Also call if he has a high fever, vomiting, chills and shakes, a hacking cough, any respiratory distress, or extreme fatigue. These may be signs of something more severe, like the fluВ or a bacterial infection.

If your child has asthma, diabetes, or other long-term health conditions, call your pediatrician to talk about medicine or other treatments.

Also watch for signs of complications of the flu, such as pneumonia. Symptoms include a low-grade fever (less than 102 F), coughing up mucus, achiness, labored or fast breathing, and tiredness. Contact the pediatrician immediately if any of these symptoms appear. В


CDC: «Clean Hands Save Lives.»

Family Doctor: «Hand Washing.»

Medscape: «New Hand Washing Program Could Reduce the Number of Common Colds Children Get Each Year.»

Medline Plus: «Flu,» «Common Cold.»

National Institutes of Health: «Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others.»

Coronavirus symptoms: Early warning signs of Covid-19 and how to tell if it is NOT a cold or flu

THE coronavirus pandemic has affected millions of people around the world — with cases in over one hundred countries.

And in the UK alone, the confirmed number of those infected with Covid-19 now stands at nearly 100,000 with the death toll rising to 12,868.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the name for a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS.

The new disease that emerged in China in December has never been seen in humans before the current outbreak.

It’s been called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the World Health Organisation and causes an illness that’s now named Covid-19.

The new strain is thought to have jumped from bats to humans, via a possible but unknown animal, in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

What are the early warning signs?

As Covid-19 is a new virus, experts are still working to understand it.

However, health officials say the most common symptoms of coronavirus infection usually include:

Some people will not develop all of these symptoms — and some might not even show symptoms at all, experts say.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, said: «It looks quite likely that there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission.

«There’s definitely quite a lot of transmission very early in the disease when there are very mild symptoms.»

Around one out of every six who gets Covid-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the WHO.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are at most risk developing serious illness.

This can include pneumonia and swelling in the lungs, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream — leading to organ failure and death.

Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to «drown» in the fluid flooding their lungs.

People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention, the WHO says.

How does coronavirus differ from flu?

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and the common cold.

However, with the flu, symptoms can come on much quicker than with coronavirus.

According to the NHS, signs of flu include:

  • A sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
  • An aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A dry cough
  • A sore throat
  • A headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Feeling sick and being sick

You can treat yourself for flu by getting rest and staying warm.

Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can lower your temperature and treat aches and pains.

Drinking plenty of water will help avoid dehydration.

The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others.

It’s more effective to get the vaccine before the start of the flu season, which tends to run from December to March.

How quickly do coronavirus symptoms come on?

The virus is believed to be transmitted between people through droplets spread from coughing and touching or shaking hands.

While sneezing is not a symptom of the new coronavirus, it also thought to be a way that droplets can be spread.

Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 11 days.

To find out more about whether you should travel, click on your country of choice: Is it safe to travel to Tenerife, Italy, Austria, Greece and Thailand.

A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US found that almost all (97.5 per cent) of those who develop symptoms appeared to do so within 11.5 days of infection.

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Experts say there is little evidence to suggest that people can spread the virus without showing symptoms.

When should I seek help?

You should only call NHS 111 — the coronavirus number — if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or you do not recover within seven days.

If you get a cough, a high temperature, or you feel short of breath, you can follow this link to find out if you are likely to have coronavirus.

Do not leave your house without getting advice from a doctor.

How can I protect myself?

In order to reduce your risk of infection, you should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with others.

You should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw it away and wash your hands.

Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which you may have touched is also important.

More on coronavirus











Can it be treated?

Currently, there is no vaccine to protect people against the virus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses — only bacteria.

The NHS says that treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

Those who are infected will need to stay in isolation away from other people until they have recovered.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing are government-recommended measures you can take to reduce social interaction with other people and help prevent coronavirus from spreading.

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
  4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

The government also recommends that you keep at least two metres away from anyone who is not part of your household.

What other symptoms have coronavirus patients experienced?

The only proven symptoms of coronavirus, and therefore the only ones which require further action, are a dry cough, a fever/high temperature and shortage of breath.

However, there are a number of other mild symptoms which have been experienced by some patients. These include:

  1. Stomach ache
  2. Eye infections and loss of taste/smell
  3. Brain fog
  4. Fatigue

11 Fascinating Facts About Body Temperature

Think you know the average ‘normal’ body temperature? The temperature at which you spike a fever? This temp trivia may surprise you.

Your body temperature is always adapting to your environment, and what’s «normal» for you may not be what’s normal for someone else.

Your body temperature can reveal a lot about your health. Body temperature is one of four key vital signs doctors look at, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. An infection can cause a fever, but your body temperature also fluctuates according to your age, your sex, and even when you tell a lie. Learn more about normal body temperature, fevers, and other factors that affect body heat.

What Is Considered a Normal Body Temperature?

The average normal body temperature is generally considered to be 98.6 degrees F, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. But «normal» body temperature can range from 97 degrees F to 99 degrees F, and what’s normal for you may be a little higher or lower than the average body temperature.

Your body is always adapting its temperature in response to environmental conditions. For example, your body temperature increases when you exercise. And if you check your temperature with a thermometer, you will see that it’s higher in the late afternoon and evening than first thing in the morning when you rise, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Babies and young children have a higher body temperature than older kids and adults, because the surface area of their bodies is larger relative to their weight, and their metabolism is more active. Newborns typically have an average body temperature of 99.5 degrees F.

What Is a Fever?

A fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature, and it’s often caused by illness, according to the Mayo Clinic. A rectal, ear, or temporal artery (forehead) temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher generally indicates a fever. Fevers usually subside within a few days. If you have a fever, you may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Chills and shivering
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Dehydration
  • General weakness

For adults, a body temperature of 103 degrees F or higher can be a cause for concern, and warrants a call to your doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also call your doctor if along with a fever, you have a severe headache; an unusual skin rash; unusual sensitivity to bright light; stiff neck and pain when you bend your head forward; mental confusion; persistent vomiting; difficulty breathing or chest pain; abdominal pain or pain when urinating; or convulsions or seizures.

For infants and toddlers, a temperature that is only slightly higher than usual could be a sign of a serious infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Call your doctor if your child is younger than 3 months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher; between 3 and 6 months old and has a rectal temperature up to 102 degrees F and seems atypically irritable, lethargic, or uncomfortable, or has a temperature higher than 102 degrees F; or between 6 and 24 months and has a rectal temperature higher than 102 degrees F that lasts longer than one day.

If your child is 2 years old or older, call your doctor if they have a fever that lasts longer than three days, or if they seem unresponsive to you.

Young children from 6 months to 5 years old might have febrile seizures with a high body temperature, which usually involve loss of consciousness and shaking of limbs on both sides of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Call for emergency medical care if a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or take your child to the doctor as soon as possible after the seizure to figure out what caused it.

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