SCV green thumbs respond to frost threat

Snow on hills near Gorman in February. photo by Jeff Zimmerman, for The Signal.


The forecast of cold temperatures and the threat of frost kept local nurseries busy Monday advising gardeners on how to keep their plants alive.

Los Angeles County health officials issued a weather alert for Santa Clarita for the next few days due to low wind chill in the forecast.

The weather alert has been issued to last from Feb. 19-21 for Santa Clarita with temperatures dropping as low as the mid-20s, according to National Weather Service officials.

The fear of frost killing plants sparked a continual line of customers at nurseries.

James Green at Green Landscape Nursery offered customers visiting the business at Bouquet Canyon Road and Cinema Drive advice on how to keep plants warm against frost.

“First of all, when it comes to weather apps on your phone, in your car, online, whatever, when they say the high (temperature) is going to be 102, you know it’s going to be 108 or 109. The same thing goes in reverse for winter time.

“If your apps says 30 to 40 degrees, it’s going to be colder,” he said.

Covering your tree will help the plant retain some of the heat.

Specially made, “frost tarps” made of a gauze-like material are the best, Green said, noting of course, that Green Landscape sells the material.

Coverings made of burlap, bed sheets and plastic all work as well, but to varying degrees, he said.

“The problem with plastic is if you leave it on during the daytime, it’s going incubate the plant and end up burning it,” he said.

An inexpensive, yet effective, way of warming outdoor plants is to string them with “old style” Christmas lights which give off heat.

“They give off a small amount of warmth and it’s a popular thing to do — I think because it’s entertaining,” Green said.

Electric fans are also effective, he said, in that they “disrupt the frost from settling,” he said.

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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