Baby its cold out there!
In fact, these are the coldest temperatures we have seen in several years. You and I may be able to bundle up, but what about our plants? Is cold weather bad for plants?
Let's first assume that you have plants that are correct for our area. Obviously, plants that are normally found in southern regions will not do well in our coldest winters.
Interestingly enough, plants are very adept at preparing themselves for winter's cold.
During summer days, leaves make more glucose than the plant needs for energy and growth. The excess is turned into starch and stored until needed. As the daylight gets shorter in the autumn, plants begin to shut down their food production. As the amount of daylight gets too brief for the leaves to adequately produce food, the plant essentially cuts off the leaves from the rest of the plant. This is when we get the brilliant colors of fall. The leaves soon fall off and the tree rests for winter until the whole cycle begins again.
Evergreens, however, keep most of their leaves during the winter. They have special leaves, resistant to cold and moisture loss. Some, like pine and fir trees, have long thin needles. Others, like holly, have broad leaves with tough, waxy surfaces. On very cold, dry days, these leaves sometimes curl up to reduce their exposed surface. Evergreens may continue to photosynthesize during the winter as long as they get enough water, but the reactions occur more slowly at colder temperatures.
If only we could adapt as well to the cold!