Local News

Expected Cold Snap Could Spell Trouble for Plants

Posted April 4, 2007 3:40 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2007 5:33 p.m. EDT

— 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.