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Expected Cold Snap Could Spell Trouble for Plants

Posted April 4, 2007
Updated April 5, 2007

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— Spring flowers are in bloom all over the Triangle, as homeowners have been hard at work on their yards over the past few weekends. But the threat of frost this weekend could kill off some flowers for the rest of the season.

A freeze watch is in effect for Thursday night and Friday morning. Scott Thomas and his workers will spend much of the next few days getting flowers and plants at his nursery in Wilson ready for the cold snap. They’re also pulling cold sensitive plants out of the greenhouses.

“We've got about a full day’s worth of work to cover things up move them under shelter, put them under protection,” Thomas said.

Thomas said flower sales are up, but plummeting temperatures will likely bring drop in business.

“It’s going to be a headache,” Thomas said. “It’s going to slow the plants down, its going to set some of them back.”

Amateur gardeners who have spent the last few warm weekends planting or have new growth in their yard should do the same, experts said. Thomas said if frost kills flowers like annuals or early blooming azaleas, they won't bounce back.

“If frost hits them the next day, you're going to start seeing the flowers just turning brown and then they are finished for the year,” he said.

Experts say the best way to protect plants from frost is to cover them with old sheets, towels, or burlap. They said that gardeners should try to avoid covering flowers with plastic because the heat can actually cause problems if left on too long.

Others might lose flowers now, but would see them bloom again.

“A tight bud might be OK,” Thomas said.

Thomas said his greenhouses have dealt with at least one late season frost over the past few years.

“This year, because you've got some things that normally bloom a little bit later that blooming now, it's a little bit more of a scramble,” he said.

58 Comments

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  • Angry Independent Apr 5, 2007

    Greg Fishel sez snow. Umm.. Ok.

  • jenstog Apr 5, 2007

    thank you!!!!!!! so my hope- don't kill my pretty flowers - please kill the nasty snakes!

  • nc lover Apr 5, 2007

    Roses will be fine. No need to cover. I never have covered mine and they do/did just fine. But if you'll feel better - cover with light blanket or sheet until sunrise. As for those little blue flowers - I don't know what they are. I personally would cover them to, to be on the safe side. And April 15th and on is the perfect time to plant. All danger (so the officals say) is gone in the Triangle by April 15th.

  • jenstog Apr 5, 2007

    OOH and also there was a baby snake on our patio yesterday- dang I hope the cold gets rid of it! I don't know what kind it was but the tail was brown- ewe!!! My poor 20-mo. old daughter has been running around the back yard all week and I never would of thought about checking for snakes- til now! Bring on the snake freeze!

  • UmmmK Apr 5, 2007

    My Papa always said, "Don't plant yer maters till after April 15!" I always follow his advice and wait :)

  • jenstog Apr 5, 2007

    hey i just moved to a new place (well its not new but new to me!) and there are some rose bushes. One of them has buds on it- should I do anything? I mean I am the dumbest person on this planet when it comes to anything plantwise. There's also some pretty blue itty bitty flowers that look like they are spread all over some of the beds- I bet they'll die huh?

  • nc lover Apr 5, 2007

    Can't get enuff - Hope my last post came across loud and clear.
    Sorry about the mis-spelling. Sometimes my fingers go to fast
    when typing on this sorry Fred Flinestone Lap Top I have. Not to mention my Fingers are to fat for it. Ha Ha

  • nc lover Apr 5, 2007

    Your welcome. I do this. Sometimes I feel like my neibhors are looking at me like a fool because I have sheets - towels -
    blankets drapped all over everything in the yard when this happens but I don't care. It works! If you have Azelas in the yars blooming right now - defiently cover them. The cold will kill them grave yard dead!

  • farleyfarleyfarleyhaffar Apr 5, 2007

    Thanks, NC Lover! I might just cover them with sheets just to be safe... if I can find enough!

  • nc lover Apr 5, 2007

    Can't get enuff - Your Mums should be just fine. They are a cold
    weather plant. As you know they bloom in Oct/Nov when the nights start getting cold. But if you want to play it safe throw a light blanket or sheet over them at night. Then make sure to take them off the Mums the following morning as close to daybreak as possible. Plants under coverings that get hit by the Sun may damage them so Iv'e heard.

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