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Nurseries taking 3 precautions to protect plants from freeze damage

Nurseries will run irrigation systems overnight
Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 23:22:22-05

HUDSON, Fla.- Nurseries are protecting acres and acres of plants and palms during this cold snap.

Peter Santangelo has 43 acres of palms, plants and trees at Canterbury Farms in Hudson. He sells to homeowners and to landscapers.

He's owned the business for 22 years and won't allow mother nature to ruin it.

"It was 31 degrees out here this morning and it got down to about 29 degrees about an hour before sunrise. Before sunrise it gets cooler then tomorrow morning we're looking at about 1 or 2 degrees colder," said Peter Santangelo, owner.

RELATED: Freeze Warnings issued for Tampa Bay

17 employees spent nearly 3 days preparing for the cold snap. They covered dozens and dozens of plants.

"Winter protection fabric is awesome fabric because it makes like a 7-10 degree difference underneath from the heat rising from the ground," said Santangelo.

Canterbury Farms is also using "hot houses" around the property. It stays about 20 degrees warmer inside the tents. Employees moved many of the tropical plants inside. One heater keeps the warmth locked inside.

The nursery will also run its irrigation system overnight to form a layer of ice to protect the plants.

"A layer of ice over the plant that keeps a plant insulated at 32 degrees so you keep the water running until the sun comes up the next morning and as the sun hits it, the ice melts off," said Santangelo.

Santangelo says the last harsh winter was in 2010, but if he follows those 3 precautions the plants usually survive the winter.