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How to keep your plants from dying during cold weather

Protecting plants from winter weather.

The first cold stretch of the season will kick in Tuesday, and protecting your plants from freezing temperatures is important to keeping them alive. A local master gardener, Martin Marin, said you can't just use black garbage bags to cover up your plants because it doesn't let in enough light. He said you should use a white tarp to keep them from freezing.

After a warm season, winter is finally coming to El Paso.

"It’s pretty cool-ish today. We’re outside playing soccer,” said Central El Paso resident Angelo Rodriguez. “It was just a little warmer this year than usual."

"It's really great to be out here this time of year,” said West El Paso resident Donna Tarin. "I haven't even gotten to unpack any winter jackets or anything. This is like the heaviest thing I've worn."

"It’s perfect weather! You wear a sweater, you're not too cold, not too hot,” said West El Paso resident Heidi Stern. "I think I've been surprised with the weather in general this year."

The first freeze is expected Tuesday night. It's your plants that take these quick freezes and bitter winds the hardest. Just take a cover, drape it over your plants and tie it up at the bottom.

"The ideal thing is to have some sort of piece of a plastic. Maybe 6 ml. plastic. You can get it at any hardware store. If not, heck, just wing it with some newspaper,” Marin said.

If you have plants that would get crushed, buy some dowels to make a canopy.

"Heck, even a stick, branches from a tree will do just fine,” Marin said. “Stick them into the pot so the plastic has something to lie on.”

Marin said you can also create homemade mulch out of fallen leaves.

"Maybe 1, maybe 2 inches thick. These are free, you'll find them everywhere. And this is a mulch. This protects the root ball from freezing,” Marin explained.

He said to protect any plant with green stems. Succulents also need to be covered.

“Aloe veras are extremely susceptible to the cold because they're so full of moisture inside,” Marin said.

But if you're used to living in the desert, you plan ahead.

“We actually xeriscaped our yard so our maintenance is very low,” said Kern Place resident Allison Glass.

Marin said the best thing you can do for your potted plant, if you're able, is to just bring it indoors.

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