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How to Protect Tomato Plants from Frost

By Traci Joy ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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


Things You Will Need

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


  • If you use hay as mulch it can be left on the ground for several days, but pick newspaper up daily as excess moisture can cause it to deteriorate.


  • 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.

About the Author


A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."