* The Fiend of Frost. l. 439. The principal injury done to vegetation by frost is from the expansion of the water contained in the vessels of plants. Water converted into ice occupies a greater space than it did before, as appears by the bursting of bottles filled with water at the time of their freezing. Hence frost destroys those plants of our island first, which are most succulent; and the most succulent parts first of other plants; as their leaves and last year's shoots; the vessels of which are distended and burst by the ex∣pansion of their freezing fluids, while the drier or more resinous plants, as pines, yews, laurels, and other ever-greens, are less liable to injury from cold. The trees in vallies are on this account more injured by the vernal frosts than those on eminencies, because their early succulent shoots come out sooner. Hence fruit trees covered by a six-inch coping of a wall are less injured by the vernal frosts because their being shielded from showers and the descending night-dews has prevented them from being moist at the time of their being frozen: which circumstance has given occasion to a vulgar error amongst gardeners, who suppose frost to descend.
As the common heat of the earth in this climate is 48 degrees, those tender trees which will bear bending down, are easily secured from the frost by spreading them upon the ground, and covering them with straw or fern. This particularly suits fig-trees, as they easily bear bending to the ground, and are furnished with an acrid juice, which se∣cures them from the depredations of insects; but are nevertheless liable to be eaten by mice. See additional notes, No. XII.
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