On July 30 and 31 we had two very significant frosts. Significant, in that they were the hardest frosts I have on record since the winter of 2009, 8 years ago.
At -4.5c on Sunday night, and on the Monday night, -3.5c respectively, they wreaked havoc at our nursery and many other gardens around the Bay of Plenty.
I have received several phone calls from worried customers about the state of their trees and what they can do to help them recover. The aim is always to prempt the damage by studying Metservice weather forecasts through the hardest winter months and offer protection prior to the frost occurring.
You can get your temperature forecasts from a wide variety of outlets these days, but I find Metservice to be the easiest to read. In rural Te Puke I’ve found that the variant of forecast to actual has been up to a massive 7.5 celcius degrees different, so keep this in mind when working out your own location differences. Keeping your own records with a good quality ground thermometer is always helpful.
It is of no benefit to your plants to nip out early in the morning of the frost to cover your plants. You must do this the night before as the damage has already been done at the stage where the temperature drops below zero during the night.
Look out for browning of leaf tips. This could be severe or minor depending on which species you have in your garden. Always keep in mind that all plants, not just palm trees and cycads, have different tolerances to frost.
They will eventually recover, but it will take time and patience to get them back to their best. These sorts of significant frost events in the Bay of Plenty are thankfully rare, but they will pack a punch.