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Flowers Need Protection From Freeze Monday Night

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Flowers Need Protection From Freeze Monday Night

Farmers and gardeners beware as temperatures are set to plummet and a hard freeze expected across the Upper Cumberland overnight and into Tuesday morning.

Putnam County Agriculture Extension Agent Wayne Key said with a possible freeze looming, people should cover plants and gardens with light sheets if possible. He said any potted plants should be moved inside or undercover to avoid blooms dying off.

“Not a killing frost or freeze I don’t think tonight,” Key said. “I think we’re just talking about a frost or freeze that’s going to slow down that growth, slow down that development. Anything that’s got flowers or flower buds or developing buds or new leaf foliage on fruit trees, shrubs, and trees can be damaged by this.”

Key said plants that get damaged should still produce leaves and buds come summertime. He said tomorrow, temperatures should be back into the 60s, so if people take precautions tonight, they can avoid damage to their plants altogether. He said people should avoid planting early for this very reason.

The first frost-free date of the year in Putnam County is not until April 30, when the chance of frost drops below 10 percent.

“Most of our garden crops, if it’s a cool-season crop, our lettuces, onion sets, those kinds of things should be fine through this,” Key said. “Because it’s just a short period. We’ve been slowly cooling down today, so it isn’t that arctic blast that came in in just a few hours’ time like we had in, say, December ’22.”

He said when clouds move out of the area throughout the day, the blanket layer they provide is removed and leaves the earth’s surface more vulnerable to cold temperatures. He said those clouds act as a buffer and keep warmth trapped between cloud level and the ground. He said cool air coming through the jet stream from the north, paired with a clear sky will likely result in a freeze as temperatures fall into the 20s.

“When it’s in the bud phase, they can withstand cold temperatures for more than one or two nights below, say 28-30 degrees,” Key said. “It’s when that bud begins to break and we start to see a little leaf form or a little bloom begin to form out of there, that’s when those trees can be most affected and when damage can occur.”


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