A Moment of Science

How To Defend Your Gardens From Frostbite: Antifreeze For Plants

If you enjoy gardening, you know how much it can cost to keep your plants alive. You also know how frustrating it is when an unexpected frost destroys them.

Colorful backyard garden

Photo: *Susie* (flickr)

Gardeners won't have to worry as much about losing plants to cold temperatures due to a new spray that makes plants more protective against the cold

Did you know that Americans spend nearly forty billion dollars each year on their lawns and gardens? When a sudden freeze or heavy frost comes along, it can mean serious financial costs.

Miracle Spray

Here’s the good news. Gardeners might soon have a new tool to fight freeze damage. A team of botanists working in Alabama and Ohio have developed a spray that can make plants more tolerant of the cold!

Sprayed plants can survive at temperatures down to nearly ten degrees colder than what they normally can endure. The spray uses a combination of ingredients that help lower the freezing point of the plant.

Effectiveness

The effectiveness of the spray depends on the species. The formula works with a plant’s genetic pre adaptation for cold protection and improves it. The solution enters the plant through the leaves, and stimulates the plants’ own cold weather defense mechanisms.

The spray helps the plant increase the natural antifreeze compounds made inside its cells. It also helps protect cells from damage caused by freezing. Then if some of the cells freeze anyway, the damage to the plant is reduced. A single spray can last from four to six weeks. It’s expected to be available for purchase by spring of 2010.

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