Just got email noting that all campus offices will be closed until 11:30am Friday February 4th, 2011. The reason – extreme cold conditions and predicted precipitation will make for dangerous travelling on Friday morning.
What does this mean for plants? In the majority of Texas, this week has been one big arctic blast! In the Brazos Valley, temperatures dipped below 20°F yesterday, the last two nights, and for the most part of today.. We can only protect freeze susceptible plants for so long. The longer the freeze period, the more damage will be observed on these plants. At the Ong house, I have several aloe plants that have been wrapped in a blanket on the porch. I am not holding out much hope for them, especially with temperature expected below freezing again soon. So what is the better way to protect these plants? I probably would have better odds if I had used several layers – air is a good insulator. An alternative is to move the plants indoors (if possible). Some people are even more industrious by building cold frames that can be placed over the plant (especially those that are in-ground.) Similarly, an upside down trash can would do the trick. Regardless, a prolonged cold incidence is not very nice to plants. On the upside, it is also not very nice to insects and pathogens!
Time will tell how my cold protection job worked. With temperatures expected to moderate over the weekend, I will take a look at my plants next week to see how they fared. I hope that your plants are protected and survive the cold spell. Good luck and stay warm.