How to protect plants from frost ahead of Orlando cold front

Frost blankets offer protection

OXFORD, Fla. – The sign in Sumter County says it all: "We have frost blankets." 

Fairfield Farms Nurseries has kept busy selling frost blankets for those tending to gardens and plants. 

"The last few days, I've sold more frost blankets than I've sold in a year and a half," Trisha Tonn said.  

On almost any other day, the business's perennial pad is packed with plants, but on Wednesday, employees moved them all inside the greenhouse as a precaution. 

"My frost blankets are gone," said Justin Ulatowski, who just moved to the Villages from Wisconsin. "I need a few more. I got rid of my snow blower and everything else, and here I am and now I'm covering plants. It's quite unusual." 

Tonn has advice for anyone looking to protect their own plants as temperatures continue to drop.

"Start with frost blankets," she explained. "Depending on if your plant is cold tolerant or cold hardy, and what I mean by that is tolerant will tolerate the cold until about 45 degrees, cold hardy will do it to about 38."

Tonn also says when it does warm up, put off pruning cold-damaged plants until closer to the spring, so they have a better chance to survive. 

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