Experts offer tips to protect your plants and pets in freezing temps

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 6:20 PM

HOUSTON—Freezing temps can cause great problems for plants and pets even if they are only here a short time.

When the cold weather comes workers do not take any chances at Big Tex Tree Nursery in Conroe.

“Anywhere from like 33 to 25 degrees, that is when you really want to make sure you cover,” said James Moseman, a tree expert.

Moseman said that what you cover your plant with is also important. The simple bed sheet is likely enough for smaller plants, a more waterproof tarp is better, especially for the bigger stuff.

It is all about insulation, keeping the heat in and cold out.

“You have water going throughout the plant so, when it reaches freezing, that water freezes and expands and it will bust all of those little capillaries in the leaves and that is what kills the plant,” said Moseman.

Plastic is great for covering entire porches, but for covering plants, plastic is not an option because it can cause more damage that good.

“You want to do some sort of frame or something because if it touches the plant it is going to kill where it touched,” Moseman said.

Pets need attention as well. Bring them inside if possible, but if they are outdoor only, there are precautions you can take.

At the Montgomery County Animal Shelter they use makeshift shelters made from dog food containers with a simple blanket inside.

That gives the outdoor cats a safer place that is dry and shielded from wind.

Jane Holman with the Montgomery County Shelter said there are bigger risks than just temperature.

“The wind and the rain,” she said. “Animals do have protection, but once your fur is wet then you are going to get soaked to the skin.”

That is when trouble comes.

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