Local News

Temperatures Dip; Plants Shiver

Posted March 16, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— The daffodils were a little dazed, the forsythia a bit flummoxed by Sunday morning's cold temperatures, as the mercury touched 29. This, after daytime highs have been in the 70s and 80s in the past few weeks. But another nippy night is in store.

The cold temperatures are not entirely unexpected -- spring weather in the Carolinas is generally changeable and the last frost date for Zone 8, in which the Triangle is located, is April 15. Not until then can gardeners be confident that frosty nights are over until autumn.

Still, the urge to protect tender vegetation spurred many homeowners to action.

Potted plants were brought indoors from their perches on decks and patios. And old sheets were rounded up for draping over the most tender, or most prized, plants and shrubs. Newspapers and empty carton boxes were also called into play as temporary hats for plants.

Because the daytime temperatures Sunday and Monday are pegged to the 50s, there should not be too much permanent damage. It is unlikely plants would actually die; unexpected cold weather is more likely to tinge blossoms with brown or to make them drop a bit sooner than usual.

Horticulturally speaking, such dramatic cold snaps generally have a more deleterious effect on dedicated gardeners than on what's in their yards.