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What Is Light Frost: Information On The Effects Of Light Frost
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By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener ...

light frost
A frost where the air has dropped below freezing but the ground has not. Many plants can survive a light frost but cannot survive a hard frost.
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Many of our gardeners say that carrots taste sweetest in the fall after a light frost has touched them. Larry can't wait until fall so he plants several varieties. Some mature early and some later.

Light Frost Effects on Grass
Grass is perennial, going dormant each winter and renewing itself in the spring. Both autumn and spring are important times for the plant's growth. That is also when the weather is variable.

A light frost will improve turnip flavor.
Turnips are cool weather plants and therefore are not good for summer-harvested crops - except in regions with cool-summer climates.
Storage and Preservation Methods ...

If a light frost is predicted, cover your plants with a row cover or sheet. You can leave the row cover on during the day, but the sheet is too heavy and opaque, so remove and replace as needed.

A very light frost is usually no problem for succulent plants. A hard freeze, however, will freeze them solid. Outdoors, they can survive a frost if they have overhead protection.

After a light frost, cut tuberoses back to four to six (4 to 6) inches above the soil. Dig tubers carefully with a spade or spading fork, taking care not to damage the fleshy root system. Keep as much of the soil attached as possible.

After a light frost nips their vines, harvest winter squash and pumpkins. Do this before a heavy frost damages the fruits. Cut from the vines leaving 3 to 4 inches of stem on the fruit.
Annual Flowers ...

After a couple of light frosts, water plants well and choose one of the following storage options: ...

They're freshly dug, can take light frost, and to bloom their first summer they must get growing again ASAP. If necessary, store in the fridge for 2-3 days or "heel in" briefly in moist sand or soil.
Iris like lots of sun.

Although it survives occasional light frosts, unfortunately it never forms the handsome clumps I admire much further south than Sydney.

Because broccoli requires cool temperatures and can even handle a light frost many gardeners start broccoli indoors to get a jump start on the growing season.

Once the seeds have germinated, the young plants will usually tolerate a light frost and temperatures down to about 25 degrees F.

Poinsettias are only hardy in USDA zones 10-12, but will tolerate a VERY light frost.

Expecting a light frost? Throw a sheet or light blanket over delicate crops. Be sure these covers are tied down somehow or they could end up in the neighbor's yard if it gets too breezy. Try some bricks or rocks on the edges to create an anchor.

Although many annuals, such as calendulas, geraniums, and sweet peas, can withstand a light frost, these tend to flower sporadically in all but the frost-free areas of the South and West.

Will withstand light frosts. This hedge makes and excellent screen plant, although can grow wide and bushy if not pruned. Any general purpose fertiliser will enhance growth considerably. Thrives on liquid fertilisers.

If you want to avoid losses caused by even a light frost, try this old method.
Locate north on your plot and dig a little soil away from the base of your broccoli plants on the north side.

Light frost is not damaging to pumpkins but they should be harvested before a hard freeze. To harvest, cut the fruit from the vine with pruners or loppers. Leave a long, intact portion of the stem attached.

Most plants can survive a light frost if adequately mulched, but at the first sign of a heavy frost, harvest all the fruits, even the green ones.

While it won't stand up to an extended freeze, a light frost is no problem. "Linaria is best as an early-season extender," says Marquardt.

Lettuce seedlings will tolerate a light frost. Temperatures between 45 F and 65 F are ideal. Such conditions usually prevail in Ohio in spring and fall. Seeds of leaf lettuce are usually planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.

When light frost threatens, cover the plants or lift the pots and bring them indoors. They often can be returned outdoors during periods of mild fall weather. When cold, freezing temperatures persist, bring the plants indoors to stay.

Carrots are hardy and can tolerate light frost. Because of that, they can be sown several weeks prior to the last frost date if the soil is warm enough. The ideal soil temperature is around 72° F with germination in 6 to 14 days.

Spinach plants are a hardy, cool weather plant that will withstand light frosts. Plant as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. Spinach seeds are large enough to easily work with. Sow seeds 1/2" to 1" apart.

Verbena can survive very light frosts and is a perennial in mild climates. "Perennial Verbena", a very similiar but less common plant, is more frost resistant but even it is not totally reliable as a perennial.

In fact, in some cases, a light frost actually improves crop flavor considerably without actually killing the plant. These crops should be grown during the spring and autumn when temperatures are cool and mild.

The semi-hardy ones will be injured by a hard frost, but will grow in cool weather and not be harmed by a light frost.

Hardy annuals can survive cold temperatures and some light frost, while tender annuals cannot tolerate cold temperatures and should be planted only after there is no more danger of frost.

About 15 months after light frostbite hit this Mexican Fencepost (Pachycereus marginatus). The new growth since then is about 10 inches.
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Mustard greens like cool weather conditions and full sunlight, and light frosts don't trouble them. Plant thinly 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in rows 5 - 20 inches apart from April through till August.

If it's going to be a light frost, you can protect plants overnight by covering them with old sheets, row cover, burlap sacks or large boxes.

See also: See also: Light, Frost, Plant, Soil, Flower

Gardening  Light  Light intensity

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