Frost vs. Freeze Dates

As the days get shorter and the temperature begins to plummet, it’s important to note the days when the plants aren’t frozen or when there isn’t a layer of frost on the ground. For many, frost and freeze dates aren’t too different, but for those of us that like to spend time in our gardens in the colder months of winter, those dates are of significant importance. 

What is a Frost Date?

Frost dates are categorized by days where the chance of the ground being free of frost is 50%, and temperatures are 36 degrees or below.  The likeliness of a frost date increases as winter weather approaches. The department of agriculture supplies these dates by analyzing data from the past 30 years and projecting them into the new year. 

Frost can be hard on your plants and kill them even if the ground underneath is warmer. You’ll know this has happened if the tops of your plants begin to turn brown and wither. Frost dates may not completely ruin a crop or garden, but they can do considerable damage. 

What is a Freeze Date? 

As its name implies, a freeze date occurs whenever the temperature falls below freezing, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Like frost dates, the Department of Agriculture predicts these days by looking at previous data from 30 years back. 

A freeze date is much more damaging than a frost date. When a freeze date occurs, your plants are much less likely to survive. It’s always essential to keep freeze dates in mind when you begin planting. You’ll want to ensure you have enough time to harvest before the first freeze date occurs. 

The lower the temperature gets, the more damaging the effects will be. Smaller, less hardy plants will die off as soon as the first freeze date occurs and sometimes during a frost date. If the temperature continues to stay down or drops even lower, more hardy plants become susceptible to damage or possibly die outright. 

Why are Frost and Freeze Dates Important? 

Knowing when the first freeze will occur is essential for gardeners who like to harvest what they grow. Of course, the Department of Agriculture can’t give us exact dates on when these instances will occur, but having a general idea of when they will happen helps us to maintain a timetable for our crops. It’s essential to know how long your plants need to fully mature and produce so that you can use that information alongside the information on frost and freeze dates to decide better when to plant. Timing is crucial because you want your garden to be ready to harvest before the first freeze hits. If your plant is still not producing by that time, the freeze will most likely kill it and will not yield anything afterward. 

At Watermaster, we aim to help make your garden as successful as possible. We do more than just water, we also offer landscaping and lawn maintenance supplies. We know your garden and lawn are to you, and we are here to help answer any questions you might have. Call us and speak with a professional today. 

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