PONCHATOULA, La. -- Eric Morrow is the eighth generation of his family to tend to their strawberry farm in Ponchatoula. Like his predecessors before him, freezes come with the territory.
'We've seen a lot of freezes,' he said. 'We used to do it with the water -- do the protection with the ice. But now we have the covers and we're able to pull the covers on it and that's it.'
Morrow and his farm workers spent Wednesday doing just that, covering 15 acres of strawberries ahead of a forecasted freeze. Doing so, though, does not come cheap.
'You have the buying of the actual covers that are very expensive, the actual physical labor involved in covering it,' Morrow said. 'It's an additional cost and everything. It costs us an additional $400 every time we cover.'
Similar protection efforts against the cold are also underway at O'Keefe Feed and Seed in Covington. The ornamental and potted plants, which are usually on display outside, were being kept indoors. It is something they have not had to do so far this season, until now.
'We've brought in like our Poinsettias, Christmas Cactuses, stuff like that, [that's] very cold sensitive,' said Brandi James, manager of O'Keefe Feed and Seed. 'We've had a little frost, but not too much. So, tonight, we'll definitely protect them; they'll get covered up tonight.'
As for people who have plants, shrubs or young trees around their property, experts warn not to forget those, either.
'Those that have house plants, you need to clean those up-- check for bugs and insects before you bring them inside,' said Sandra Benjamin, LSU Ag Center in Tangipahoa Parish. 'Or, if you have citrus trees, and you have citrus on them, you probably need to go and cover those up.'
For those plants, which can't be brought inside, experts also recommend watering them. Water ends up insulating the root system, when it turns to ice during a freeze.