Protecting plants, pets, and people as the temperatures turn cold

Protecting plants, pets, and people as the temperatures turn cold

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Temperatures are expected to drop Tuesday night and that cold snap could affect people’s plants.

There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to plant health, not just a sharp drop in temperature.

The Nursery Manager at Hester and Zipperer off Skidaway Road says things like the soil the plants are in, and the proximity to saltier, ocean air can also determine how your plants do when we have a dramatic temperature swing.

Even winter blooms like snapdragons and pansies can get damaged if the conditions are right, and the wind chill is low enough. If you aren’t sure how your plants will do and aren’t able to move them all the way inside, using a frost cloth can offer enough protection to help preserve buds and blooms.

And if you aren’t able to go out and buy a frost cloth, here’s another solution.

“You can use an old sheet. If you’re really scared for a big, old family plant, you can move it inside. For example, Christmas cactuses can’t take cold weather anyway. If something’s too large, to move it and bring it in, try to shove it up against the wall and cover it with a blanket instead of just a thin sheet. It gives it more warmth,” said Nursery Manager Caroline Ingram.

We’re not quite deep enough into the holiday season yet for some, but another idea the nursery manager floated out there is putting a strand of holiday lights around the plant and turning them on overnight can actually provide enough warmth to curb the negative chill effects.

Protecting plants, pets, and people as the temperatures turn cold

The cold can be particularly dangerous for pets, especially if they’re not properly protected.

The Community Outreach Coordinator for the Humane Society has some good ideas when it comes to protecting not only the pets around the house but also those who might be strays around the neighborhood just looking for some shelter.

For those who aren't as lucky to have a permanent home, or even be in the safe and warm confines of the Humane Society, some ideas include setting out old containers like coolers that can provide some insulation to stray cats, for example.

The Humane Society says if you see a homeless pet, you can always bring them to their shelter off Sallie Mood Drive.

For those rescues, the staff at the shelter say the help they’ve received from the community over the course of the year will help them care for the animals they’re now looking after.

“We actually got a ton of blanket donations during the summer," said Biz Austin with the Humane Society of Greater Savannah. "And we don’t use as many blankets during the summer, so that’ll be really good. We actually give away blankets as well, so if pet owners that can’t afford blankets and things for their pets, they can come by and we’ll give plenty of blankets. We also give away food too, to people who can’t afford it.”

Because they could be losing some of that pet blanket stock as temps get cooler, they’re always welcoming those donations, as well as things like heating pads for the younger animals at the shelter.

Protecting plants, pets, and people as the temperatures turn cold

Because of the temperature drop, some homeless shelters are allowing people in, even if the facility is over normal capacity. Union Mission is one here in Savannah doing just that.

Union Mission partners up with the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless to let those know in camps around town that because of Tuesday night’s dangerous cold, they’re letting more folks in than usual.

When the temperatures get between 35 and 40 degrees or lower overnight, Union Mission does go beyond capacity, which means those who are homeless can come in and stay in areas throughout the shelter, even the lobby to get out of the cold.

Union Mission also provides meals and showers for those just trying to get out of the dangerously cold temps, as well as warm clothing. More supplies being handed out to help those in need means Union Mission can always use donations, including one some folks might not think about.

“Another thing actually that we can use is light-weight sleeping bags. I mentioned that we like to provide a sleeping bag for the folks that come with us on a temporary basis. And when it’s a light-weight bag, it’s something they can take with them. So sleeping bags are always a resource we can use,” said Union Mission’s Executive Director Pat Youngquist.

​The shelter director says they’ll offer the beyond capacity space until the severe weather passes.

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