Posted: Wednesday, April 16th 2014 at 10:29pm
Frost takes a bite out of some blooms, threatens gardeners' efforts
By Bryan Pirkle Staff
GAINESVILLE - Following a brief period of relatively warm temperatures, the sudden streak of cold weather that has set in over north Georgia the past few days has proven a threat to many outdoor plants. And, an overnight frost in some parts of Hall County Tuesday night took its toll on some early blooms.
Cold temperatures can be deadly for numerous plants, especially those of the home-grown variety, according to local gardening expert Gene Anderson.
Anderson, co-host of WDUN’s Homegrown with Gene and Kellie, says it is likely that this cold streak will damage some of the more vulnerable plants, especially if proper precautions have not been taken: “If there were any tender plants that weren’t covered, I’m afraid there will be some burn-back ,” he said.
“Anything like tomatoes or peppers, whatever might have set out already, I think there would be some damage…also, tender annuals would be hurt. I’m concerned about peaches, blueberries, strawberries, anything like that that might’ve been blooming and already set fruit. Certainly some damage could’ve happened there.”
Anderson said that while other types of plants could be affected by the cold, the extent of the damage would likely be less severe.
“As far as other plants, I think there would be a little burn-back on leaves, but I believe most of the perennials would make it through just fine,” Anderson said.
Among many tips on how gardeners could help prevent cold-related damage, Anderson says one of the most useful is simply to wait until the proper time for planting: “So many of us, when we have the warm weather like we had a week or two ago, we get over-anxious. I always say wait ‘til tax day, and then add seven days, for this area.”
Bringing vulnerable plants indoors during times of cold weather, or covering those that remain outside, is a sure-fire way to help protect them from the elements, according to Anderson.
“Folks in nurseries, greenhouse operations, the plants that they cannot put in the greenhouse, they’re gonna cover it with something,” he said. “They’re gonna cover with black plastic, or some kind of plastic, over them, and certainly that is to their advantage to do that.”
“But the next morning, remember,” he cautioned. “The sun’ll come out and shine on that plastic. They get really, really hot under it, so you need to pull it off quickly the next morning.”
Some frost damage was evident Wednesday in parts of Hall County. For instance, in one West Hall neighborhood, blooms on some azaleas had obviously taken a hit from the early morning frost.
Weather forecasters have said a return to warmer weather is likely within the next few days.
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