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Frost is coming, so put a blanket on it

By Mary Hightower
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • Frost advisory in effect from midnight to 9 a.m. Saturday
  • Cover fall blooming plants
  • Make sure soils under shrubs are saturated. 

(283 words)

(Newsrooms: with file art at

SEARCY, Ark. – The National Weather Service at Little Rock has issued a frost advisory from midnight Friday until 9 a.m. Monday and that’s the cue for gardeners to protect their plants. 


Blanket covering protecting delicate shrubs from late spring frost freeze April 14 2008. This is the correct method for protecting plants from cold damage.  (Image courtesy Kevin Quinn.) Credit mandatory.

“Before we get any cold weather, make sure the ground around shrubs is saturated,” said Sherri Sanders, White County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “The moisture in the ground helps get them through the cold, and after all the rain we’ve had, the ground should be moist.” 

Sanders said watering should be done at ground level and not over the foliage. If the temperatures fall into the freezing range, the water could freeze on the leaves causing damage. 

Additional protection is needed for other plants such as fall- or reblooming azaleas and roses. 

“For anything that’s tender, that’s blooming, we need to have some kind of sheet, cardboard box, towels, anything to cover the plant up long enough for the frost to hit and move on,” she said. “We prefer not to put on tarps or any kind of plastic, which aren’t breathable.” 

Sanders said gardeners should not leave the covers on day and night. “Just put ‘em on when you go to bed and take them off mid-morning.” 

Pansies and some gardenias are bred for the cold, so will be OK without covers.

According to the National Weather Service Little Rock office, there’s at a least a 50-50 chance that Nov. 3 would be the day for first frost and Nov. 14 the date for the first freeze.


For more information about gardening, contact your county extension office or visit


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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