Frost

frostdahlia

I knew it was coming.  There were warnings on tv, and on the internet, but it still catches me by surprise when we have the first frost of the fall.  Just three days ago, my flowers were blooming, my yard looked halfway decent, and the weather was comfortable.  On Sunday, everything was different.  The dahlias were turning brown, their stems drooping over, the coleus was all wilted and discolored, and the begonias were a slimy mess.  Summer is definitely over now!

frostbegoniaWhat is this killer that ruined my plants?  Frost.  I’ve known about it all my life, but never really understood why it happened.  Frost is a type of precipitation, which is deposited in the form of ice, directly on surfaces that are colder than the air, and also below freezing temperature.  The water in the air transforms directly into ice when it comes in contact with the cold surface.  Of course, this is disastrous for tender plants, they can’t survive the frost.  Frost can occur even when the air temperature is warmer than freezing, so you can’t predict frost based on the air temperature.  If the night is clear, the ground can quickly cool to below freezing, causing frost to form.  There are degrees of frost, light, moderate and severe.  The degree depends on how low the temperature goes.  Light frost kills tender plants.  Moderate is pretty destructive, especially for fruit trees.  Obviously, severe frost damages most plants.

In the spring, when there is a frost warning, many people rush to cover their plants.  In the fall, we just shrug and let them die.  Why don’t we try and extend their lives further into the fall? 

frostbesvineThe good news is that some plants survived the recent frost.  My cardinal flower, mums and daylilies are still blooming.  A few other perennial plants didn’t seem to notice.  Even though I understand what happened to them, I still miss the pretty flowers that were here just a few days ago.  Frost is a warning that winter is not far away.

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One Response to “Frost”

  1. Kem Says:

    Cool post-frost pictures. We have a bit longer before our first hard frost–early cold and winters are one of the things I do not miss about Michigan!

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