Irrigation in cold weather

Mark Mazer
Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:17:59 PST
>Should I water the plants now, even though they may be exposed to 
>sub-freezing air temperatures at night? Or should I wait a few days until 
>it begins to rain again -- meaning that it will not freeze at night, and 
>the plants won't have bright sun on their foliage? Are they safer in 
>circum-freezing temperatures when a little on the dry side, or when fully 

Hi Jane;
I would tend towards dryer rather than fully hydrated. Guttation at the leaf tips, depemnding on water quality, often leads to tip burn from excess salt concentration or provides an appropriate environment for bacterial or fungal growth. During colder weather I irrigate early in the AM on sunny days and try to ensure excellent air circulation with supplementary fans.  This is from my experiences in a cold greenhouse, both here in North Carolina (zone 7b-8), and also in northwest Connecticut (zone 5a) where temps can approach freezing or less in the cold spots.

Mark Mazer
Hertford, North Carolina, USA
Zone 7b-8, I think
Tecophilea, Lachenalia, Babiana, Lapeirousia, Ipheion, Crocus, Oxalis, Narcissus, Androcymbium, and I'm sure others in bloom in the greenhouse. First forsythia blooms in the garden. Randy hawks screeching, cardinals brightening, blue jays on the move. Crocus, muscari, sparaxis, cyclamen germinating.  Nine weeks till spring.

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