How to Protect Tomato Plants from Frost


Tomatoes are usually planted in the garden after the danger of frost has passed for your planting zone. Unfortunately, you can not always count on the weather to be consistent, so occasionally you may find that you have a "frost warning" after you have diligently moved your tomato plants to the garden. A frost is not merely freezing temperatures, but it is when those temperatures are accompanied by moisture and dew, and this dew lands on the tomato plants and freezes, which can kill the plant's cells. When you have a frost warning for your area, don't panic. You can easily protect your plants from harm.

Step 1

Lay mulch, such as shredded newspaper or hay, on top of the soil at the bottom of the plant. This will help keep heat in the ground.

Step 2

Cover the plant foliage with a bedroom sheet. If your plants are still relatively small, in the evening open a large paper bag and set it over the plant.

Step 3

Remove the covering in the morning, after the air has begun to warm up.

Step 4

Repeat the process in the evening if there is another frost predicted for your area.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you have no sheets to cover your plants with, you can use plastic sheeting, but you must take care to not let the plastic rest directly against the tomato's foliage, as it can cause the leaves to freeze.

Things You'll Need

  • Shredded newspaper or hay
  • Bed sheets
  • Large paper bags


  • Heartland News: Protecting Vegetables From Frost
  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow: Tomatoes
  • Purdue University Extension: Gardeners Should Prepare To Avoid Frost
Keywords: protect tomato from frost, protect tomatoes from frost damage, frost protection for tomato plants

About this Author

A freelance writer for over 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.