Frost in Forecast has Gardeners Urging Plant Protection - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Frost in Forecast has Gardeners Urging Plant Protection

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     Frost in the forecast means many of us who spent last weekend out in our gardens, need to get out again and protect our plants.That, because many of our plants just can't handle the colder temperatures. And they don't typically happen.
     
    May 15th is traditionally the frost-free date. That's when most of us in the Midwest expect to be done with frost on the ground. And the past few years, we have been. Our garden experts say we usually see temperatures    of 70 or 80 by this time of the year. They tell us many annuals haven't seen temperatures below 60 or 65, so when we get down into30'se 30s40'sd 40s, it can be a real shock to them. And it's one you can prevent.

     We found Carolyne Franklin at Wallace's Garden Center, thinking spring. "I love color. Each year I try to get something a little different than what I had the year before." This year, this week, all of us are supposed to get a touch of frost. "It's a rare year," Kate Terrell tells us. The Wallace's Store Manager says the past few years have been much warmer by now.  We're running about two weeks behind when it comes to traditional benchmarks. "Case in point, it's after May 15th, and we're looking at a frost warning, which can be really scary."

    But she says it doesn't have to be. "The biggest thing is, whatever you are really attached to, your pots, bring them in. Bring 'em inside overnight. Cover them up if it's already in the ground and do your best to protect them." Because frost can really do a number on your flowers. "When the cold moisture from the frost, when it gets on the flowers, it can turn 'em black, brown, freeze 'em off," Terrell says. It's why her staffers are preparing just like you would at your house, bringing some potted plants in and heading out early for others. "For our stuff out in the nursery, what we do a lot of the times is come in around 4 am, 5 am, right when the sun's coming up,  and we spray everything down with water, which helps hold the temperature there and ward off the frost."
   
    Meantime, she says customers are shopping and getting ready to dig in. "The excitement is still there. Everybody's still planning on having a normal summer where they can grow their tomatoes and their basil, and have their flowers on their patio and have their neighbors over for a cookout." Taking time to see and smell the flowers.
     
    Gardeners  tell us their rule of them is to bring your tropical and annual plants in. Don't leave them out until night temperatures are wel50'snto the 50s.
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