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Do plants feel the wind chill?

Like many on this site I expect, I am fearing how many plants I will lose this week. I have wrapped up those I can manage and know are at risk with fleece. Then there are those I simply can't, like the 20ft Bay which almost succumbed in the cold winter of 2012. The East side of the bush took fully 3 years to recover.

So this got me thinking about plant records and the minimum guide temperatures. Does -3C mean that, or do plants like humans feel the wind chill, which the Met Office here says is -12C this morning? I know many more tender plants don't like wind in itself. But does the 'feel like' figure reflect what they experience temperature-wise? Looking at the Echium I carefully wrapped, I can tell even without removing the fleece that it's dramatically shrunk in shape this morning, indicating sadly that the latter is most likely true.

Comments (3)

  1. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    That's an interesting question, Jeremy: I have always assumed that plants "feel" the wind-chill temperature, on the grounds that you often find that one plant in a row, the end one, perhaps, suffers more than the ones in the middle.

  2. Grower


    i wish i could get my act together to fleece things.

  3. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    I have concluded on the evidence of the plants in our garden that a wind chill of -12c is nowhere near as damaging as a true temperature of -12c. The Echium survived and is sprouting new leaves; and the Bay so badly hit the last time was completely unaffected. Slight problem with the sample size however. More research needed!

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