Winter came upon us fast this year and as usual in the desert we go from one extreme to another: A hot dry summer quickly becomes a cold winter.
You all know how important it is to protect frost-sensitive plants from freezing temperatures. One thing you can do is water the soil around them well during the day. Then please remember to adequately cover your plants. That means the entire plant should be covered whenever possible. So if you’re trying to protect shrubs and garden beds, place your frost covering over the whole plant and anchor the covering to the ground around the plants with heavy rocks or spare bricks. The idea is to trap as much heat around the plant as possible. Remember to never let your frost covering get hit with water from a sprinkler or rain. If it gets wet and then freezes on top of your plants you’ll have severe damage. Frost cloth, sheets, old tablecloths all make good covering.
For cactus, take a big styrofoam cup and top off each arm. Cactus tips can be very vulnerable.
For the most complete information on frost in the low desert, check out this publication on frost from the University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension.