What is it about frost that kills plants?

They say the Brits never stop talking about the weather, but gardeners become concerned about the microclimate in small areas of their gardens as well. Whether
it is the big picture or the small one hopefully the answers will be here.

What is it about frost that kills plants?

salli c
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salli c
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April 20th, 2004, 1:01 pm #1

Is it the contact of the ice particles with the plant, or is it just the air temperature? Or is it that ice forms in the plant cells and causes them to burst when they expand again?
Didn't lose any last night (wiping brow emoticon), just wondering.

xx-Sal-xx





xx-Sal-xx
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wannabegardener
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April 20th, 2004, 1:10 pm #2

I'm going to do my best - this is how I understand it.
For those plants that are tender or half hardy , it would be air temp .I think -not sure.
For those that are hardy , it is not the frost but the sun when it hits the frost.
The ice acts as a magnifier - that is what burns the plants.
You can cover them or get up before the sun and wash the frost off and the plants will be fine.
The only reason people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
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OldJake1
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April 20th, 2004, 2:53 pm #3

Go with Wanna basically, with the rider that any tender growth like I had with my Peony and Inula, the early frost a month or two ago killed off their precoscous (unprotected) growth.
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scotia10
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April 20th, 2004, 3:12 pm #4

Ahh ! I remember it well running around the garden at the crack of dawn in my jim jams and dressing gown spraying my Chrysants & Dahlias with cold water.
As I understand it, when the sun hits the frozen leaves,and in particular the growing tip, it thaws them too rapidly and ruptures the cells thus causing the damage. The cold water thaws them more slowly and generally averts damage.
So basically I agree with the others............A
http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk
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salli c
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April 20th, 2004, 4:44 pm #5

Sounds reasonable to me

xx-Sal-xx





xx-Sal-xx
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April 21st, 2004, 7:14 am #6

Cool thread - no pun intended.
I thought it was because of the icy air and the fast defrost.
That is the type of thing I am looking for to discuss in school.

LouisaStaff Sergeant Loopy
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