Experts offer tips on protecting plants from freezing temperatures

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

The big chill means a threat for some of central Florida's landscaping.

Channel 9's Mark Joyella spent Monday talking to experts about keeping plants and trees healthy.

Experts told Joyella that anything that has been in someone's yard a few years has been through this weather before and should not be a big concern. But smaller, flowering plants may need an extra blanket tonight.

With the wind picking up and temperatures sinking below freezing, homeowners from Marion and Flagler counties to the north and more southern counties, like Orange and Osceola, are taking steps to protect their plants.

"There are going to be plants that are going to get burned. But that's OK, they are root hardy enough that they can come back," said Edna Kane, of Lukas Nursery in Seminole County.

Experts said large fruit trees will withstand the freeze on their own and said the cold may even make the fruit sweeter. They said sensitive flowering plants should be covered, but not all covers are equal.

Experts said the so-called bikini wrap -- covering just part of a larger plant -- does nothing to help prevent cold damage. They say people should cover any , blooms and all the leaves, right to the ground.

They also said to remove those covers during the daylight hours. Leaving them on can be worse than no covers at all.

 And experts said if plants do look brown and damaged, leave them alone until March.

"(Trimming them) is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Do not prune anything back until the last threat of frost has passed," said Kane.

There are a few other things around the house that homeowners should think about with a freeze coming.

For those worried about pipes freezing, open the cabinets to let them get warm and run a little water.

Letting a pool filter run will help keep pools from freezing during an extended spell of freezing.

 And those with automatic sprinkler systems set to run overnight might should turn them off.