Cold Weather Protection Techniques
The following material represents topics of discussion at the January 2013 meeting of the Cactus and Succulent Society of of Southern Nevada.
---Irrigation (for Las Vegas, NV area)
- Turn the irrigation controller OFF
- Wrap or cover PVB's and above ground valves and pipes with a foam type insulation material
- Disconnect hoses from spigots; Wrap or cover spigots; Disconnect hose end nozzles
- Use "HEAT TAPE" in extreme conditions
---Cacti & Succulents (for Las Vegas, NV area)
The following techniques are sometimes applied in various combinations. They all help to an extent, but sometimes nothing can stop cold-hearted Mother Nature. The first step is to know your plant material. The plants in many of our "silly" collections are damaged at 40 degrees F. Many of our patio and landscape plants can take a few nights at 24 degrees F. Others, especially if not over watered, can take much colder temperatures, at least for a few days. Many of the plants, if damaged on the tips, will regenerate from the base or just below the point of frost damage.
- Put small plants indoors on window sills or plant stands for the whole winter, or place them in sheltered areas with heat mats.
- Wire the under side of metal plant stands or carts with either "rope" or small mini holiday lights and place the plants on top of the metal. (don't use solar powered or LED) The lights will heat the entire metal frame a few degrees.
- Take larger containerized plants into the garage or into the nearly enclosed courtyard.
- Cover containerized or landscape plants with fabric and even possibly holiday lights. Some people use burlap, blankets, or specialized frost blankets. Styrofoam soup cups and fleece hats on the tops of columnar cactus also helps.
CAUTION: Common blankets, towels, styrofoam and fleece must be removed from the plants during the day. The strong advantage to the specialized frost blankets is this: They can say on the plant longer without harm.They allow some passage of light onto the plant, and water vapor to escape into the atmosphere. During periods of cold rain, hail, or snow, the ground will still be wet, but the skin will be protected from dangerous ice. Covering plants outside helps, but that alone does not generate heat. It will protect from ice crystals and to some extent help hold heat from escaping from the ground. If heat is required, you must devise a way to put a heat source onto the fabric or into the air near the plant NOT DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN OF THE PLANT.
With warm wishes for your success!