Panic mode setting in...

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)April 5, 2012

At this point who cares about frost and light freezes...just been downgraded to a hard freeze with 25 and 24 degrees forcasted over the next two nights, yikes!

Typically hope isn't a strategy but will be needed for alot of folks in the Midwest. The northeast has already been through this.

Little plants, medium plants no problem. Towels and fleece blankets it is.

What about my 7' Autumn Splendor Buckeye and Katsura that are almost fully leafed out? I can't believe that damn Buckeye that usually blooms in May has its flower spikes ready to go.

Should I really toss a fleece over these trees? I'm thinking I might just have to risk damaging the leader shoot at this point...or should I just let them go?

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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Sorry, I must have been anxious trying to figure what I'm going to do today before I go to work.

Meant to post this in the trees forum.

With that said I do have TONS of conifers breaking bud (I don't just mean swelling either, I mean breaking bud) but I can just throw a towel over these dwarfs.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:55AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

I feel for you. I do. Im right there with you in dealing with these freezes.

Don't let them go. Blankets are a must. That's what we've been doing. I've been doing that for my trees and so far their leaves are a pretty green, after several HARD freezes. It was down to 26 last night and I have no doubt that the blankets I used last night worked, since they've been working all along.

My trees are only about 4 feet tall so I can use tomato cages. For you, I suggest putting up tall fence poles and using a tarp to shield the trees and then put quilts/blankets over the tarps. These trees are an investment. We can't let a month's worth of freezes kill them. Come May we'll both be thankful we made the effort.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Hope everybody's trees, etc., are able to survive this crazy weather.

Here in my part of Colorado it was in the 80's over the weekend and then it snowed on Tuesday. Perhaps snow is not as dangerous to plants as a hard freeze, but, though my conifers are just budding, almost all of the deciduous trees are leafing out and daffodils, tulips and fruit trees are blooming because of the unusually early warm temps. The sudden cold and snow was not welcome, though the moisture was.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:36AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i feel for you will ... and dont forget .. conifers are trees .. same rules and concerns.. just that needles are thicker than leaves.. so can hold out better ...

whats worse.. this.. or your waiting for your first child ... lol

as to snow ... its just water ... its all about the temps when it snows.. not the snow itself ... it doesnt matter what the temp was up in the cloud that formed the snow ... i recall many an early spring snow.. when it was 35 to 40 degrees.. and it had no negative affect ... as compared to 30's .. snow and blistering cold winds.. etc ...


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:05AM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Sorry to hear that. i go through that almost every winter/spring here in north Florida. Our warm temps. get everything going only to be nailed by hard freezes. I would err on the side of over-protection if you can. Use blankets, towels, winter coats etc. if you have them. Make sure that you try to keep the material from actually laying on the plants though. I have seen damage occur where the material actually contacted the plants.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:59AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Yes a bamboo stake or rod to about 6 inches over top of tree. Then drape your protection on that.

I use clothespins, if you can find them, to secure sheets blankets or towels securely so wind does not flail them around. A rock or brick will secure them to the ground. Any exposed areas will defeat your work. Make sure your work is tight and secure.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:14AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Thanks all...I just did what Dave mentioned. I basically walked around then picked what plants to protect. There are so many! Crossing my fingers on the others.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Staples work really well to close sheets and blankets in a pinch.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Garen Rees(6a)

Oh I'm all concerned now too. We have a freeze watch starting Friday night. It was 80 degrees for several days last week and now this!

I'm completely inexperienced and have no clue what types of plants and trees will be okay or if I should try to cover everything. I'm most concerned about my conifers and JM's. Most of my conifers are at various stages. Larix and Metasequoia are all leafed out. Most of my conifers have just started breaking bud and some others haven't popped out yet. This is my first year with so many new plantings. EEEk!

Should I cover everything that has broken bud?
Should I cover the ones that haven't yet too?
Do I need to cover my Japanese Maples, fruit trees, barberies, flowers, anything that grows. I'm sure my freshly planted rocks will do fine. =)
I guess I should be asking, is there anything that will generally be okay and doesn't need covering?

Thanks for helping the total newb and hope you folks don't get to irritated with educating me. =)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:28PM
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So what do you guys consider cold enough to cover anything up? I get concerned with temps below 32, but I start covering when temps are forecast for anything 30 and below.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 2:20AM
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Used every single towel, blanket, sheet, etc. that we had to protect what plants had new growth. Took 3.5 hours to cover what we could but didn't have supplies to protect the hostas, peonies, or other perennials. We were on the freeze border line so didn't know if it was necessary. Glad we made the effort. Some of the peony leaves look like wilted spinach.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Garen Rees(6a)

3.5 hours seems like what I was prepared to do too. Sorry for your wilted peony and I feel for all of you have any damage from the freeze.

I was stressed out on how to cover my 10' Metasequoia 'Ogon' without bending or smashing it's delicate leader. I was preparing to construct a giant conifer circus tent. =) I don't think I have to worry anymore. Just checked the weather and it looks like it will only get down to 34. I feel like an overreacting parent now lol.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 2:14PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Hit 30 last night, certainly not as bad as the forecasted 25.

Another light freeze tonight and another three forecasted for early to mid-next week.

Not sure how the plants will cope with so many light freezes...I'm not even counting the multiple frosts we had.

I'm sure as hell not going out there again after 8 hours of tailgating and getting blasted by St. Louis.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:45PM
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Yes whaas, a most disappointing opener! Gotta like George coming off the bench and blasting that three-run shot though.

Anyway, I still tend to think we'll not see an inordinate amount of damage hurled our way by these freezes. Something somewhere WILL be damaged, but no widespread calamity says I.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:06PM
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