We have enjoyed unusually warm weather during the past couple of months. However, we are about to get a kick back to reality with FREEZING temperatures at night and colder than average daytime temperatures for several days. Unfortunately, this will be difficult conditions for us to protect some of the plants that have started to leaf out and bloom a little too early.
Some plants may be easier to protect than others. Covering and uncovering may have to be done over several days with determination if you wish to save your plants and blooms. You will need to have the time and energy to keep up with the covering each day and night freezing temperatures are predicted. Wet snow is also a possibility, which could pile up on coverings and cause breakage and flattening of plants.
Many flower bulbs including daffodils, hyacinths and even some tulips have been blooming beautifully. The freeze will kill back the blooms; however, the bulbs should be safe in the ground. We might just have to say a sad goodbye to those lovely blooms. The bulbs should survive. Let the green leaves of bulb plants grow until they die back later in the season. Do not cut them back. That will help the bulb store energy for the next season.
If you have started some container gardens, bring them in if you can. You will need to keep the soil in the container from freezing as well as the plants in the container. You can also place them next to your home’s foundation and cover the entire pot and plants with straw, mulch, leaves, burlap, sheets or light blankets.
Any perennial flowers and vegetables (including strawberries) that have started growing should be safe with some extra straw, mulch, leaves or compost placed gently on top of them – covering them completely. Just be sure the material will stay in place. You may need to check the plants to make sure the material keeps them covered through the entire cold spell and each night the temperatures will drop below freezing.
If you have some roses and shrubs that are small, you can use wire around the plant and fill it with straw, mulch, or leaves to help cover the plant for frost protection. You can try covering taller shrubs and plants, but remember to keep snow from lying on top of the coverings. Use sheets, light blankets, burlap or frost blankets – do not use plastic.
In these circumstances, we may loose some of our prized plants. We will have to roll with the punches and be prepared to re-plant some things. Remember it is an opportunity to play in the soil another time!