Last frost date

mira_dunham(z7 MD)March 24, 2005

Please help!! I have been trying to find our last frost date. The Farmers Almanac says March 26. That seems early, I always heard Mother's Day. When are you all starting?

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frontiercc(MD Zone 6)

Howdy Rachel-

I live on the Mason and Dixon Line in Western Carroll County. My "official" last frost date is 4/15 (Tax day!!) but that's too early in my experience. I wait until May 1 and don't even THINK about putting tropical veggies (Tomatoes, peppers,etc) out until may 15. Not likely to frost in that 5/1-5/15 timeframe, but the nightime temperatures are still very cool for the plants.

Depending on where in z7 you are 3/28 could be realistic, but I would guess early-mid April is more in line. For instance if your Zone 7 is on the eastern shore of MD, that's different than a Montgomery County Md Zone 7.

And remember, it's the average last frost date which means half the years last frost is before that date and half the years after. Generally speaking of course.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 11:30AM
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oogy4plants(6B MD)

Hi!

I had the same question so I did a search for last frost date in Maryland. I found a wide range of dates for the same locations and decided that the dates were not very reliable.

Here is a list including 1st and last frost dates:

City Spring Fall
Annapolis 4/23 10/11
Baltimore 4/11 10/29
Cambridge 4/26 10/13
Hagerstown 5/3 9/29
Oakland 6/5 9/10
Pocomoke City 5/8 10/3

Supposedly the full moon is also a good indicator, meaning if you plant after the full moon close to when you think the last frost may be, then you should be ok.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 2:22PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I vary my first warm season planting dates by how the year is going weatherwise. I'm considering the soil temperature as well as the last date of actual frost. Right now, I'm expecting this to be a late year, where I won't put much in until about May 15. Years with a warmer spring I've started as early as April 15.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 3:22PM
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laine713

Oogy, I saw those same dates, I plan to start hardening off some of my plants around 4/15 and would be planting until later in April.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 9:35PM
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graygp(8)

Hello,
I live in Virginia Beach and I have been fooled here over the last couple of years. I would not do much until late April or early May. But I am not an expert. Have a nice spring!
Greg,

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 11:09PM
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mira_dunham(z7 MD)

I am in Harford County, just west of 95, and East of Bel Air. Can perennials go out earlier? What about seeds of hardy anuals? I have a bunch of sweet peas that are about 18 inches tall, since they are cool weather can they go out earlier? How much hardening off should I do? Am I the only one that is so impatient? My tulips aren't even up and I want to start others. I started several flats, and am now running out of room. The ground isn't frozen, shouldn't that mean something?(pout,pout)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 11:41PM
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cecilia_md7a(7a/Baltimore,MD)

Mira, have you considered putting out some of your perennials & hardy annual plants, then covering them with "cloches" to protect them - just in case? You can cut the bottoms off of 2-liter and larger plastic bottles and put them over the plants. The bottles can be anchored in the ground with sticks or wires poked through the opening at the top of the bottle.

Personally, I've invested in a cold frame, as well as several plastic "garden umbrellas" to protect my early plants. I'm obviously as impatient as you are!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 1:06PM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

Here where I am in Culpeper, VA, our suggested last frost date is supposed to be April 11th, but I never plant out tenders like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc., until Mother's Day. I come from a big NY farming family, & Mother's Day was always the traditional "planting out" date.

(And I like spending that day - weather permitting - puttering around the garden. . . .

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 2:45PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

I just put out my winter sowing today. Oh, a day late, but...

I always heard here in the DC/Bowie/Annapolis area it's April 21. I think the bottom line is that it's sure not March 26!!

C.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 3:35PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

I'm right on the Mason-Dixon line too.

Like suggested, last frost here averages around the end of April-beginning of May, but alot depends on the site -- some low spots are potential frost-pockets, like mine. Fruit orchards are usually planted on slopes above the lowest areas to avoid this.

Light, late frost rarely bothers native stuff, even w/emerging growth.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 9:15AM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

how about "when the oak leaves are the size of a mouse's ear" I remember hearing that from the old timers when I was young so that makes it an OLD peice of folk wisdom that would adapt to the location.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 7:32PM
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DawnStorm(7/MD)

On/around 4/21 sounds about right, at least for Wheaton.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 12:36PM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

Come on. I was just outside to get some lunch. Beautiful! Mid 60's!! Frosts are over, done, finished. Nothing but warm and sunny days ahead. Go ahead and plant those tomatoes early! ;-)

- Brent

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 2:27PM
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lori_elf z6b MD

Last frost date where I live is May 10. I usually wait until May 1st or later for tender annuals, though you can plant hardy shrubs and perennials now. Frosts are definitely not over for sure.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 8:41AM
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Mandyvilla(7a No.VA)

I'm with Brent.....no more frosts, we've had enough bad weather. Suz (who will still wait until Mother's day:)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 7:44PM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

I woke up this morning and stepped outside...ohh a bit nippy...hey!...what is that?...patches of FROST?!? Hmm...I had not been following the forecast too closely but I did not recall seeing temps in the low 30's. I guess Ma Nature did not like me saying that frosts were done. Maybe if I run out and spend a lot of money on a snow blower the temps will stay up for the rest of the season!

- Brent

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 1:07PM
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mira_dunham(z7 MD)

Please go shopping Brent! If you get a really expensive one we'll have a decade of mild winters, maybe we'll even change to zone 8!!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 2:53PM
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vladpup

G'Day!
- While i wouldn't plant anything "tempermental" yet, nor set the tropical houseplants out on the verandah for their summer vacation, i think it's safe to plant lettuce and sorrel and cilantro and other hardier seeds.

- Happy gardening,
-vlad

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 12:35AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Well tonight's weather forecast that could include frost is why the last frost date in the Washington DC area is considered between May 1 and May 15.

I've had annual seedlings outside the last week hardening off, but everything will go inside the garage tonight since I'm in a cold pocket.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 1:45PM
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alfie_md6

I've definitely had frost damage on a May 15. Parts of my garden are cold pockets, though.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 2:24PM
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mtmama42(z5-6 WV)

Okay, I realize most posters here are from Maryland but this is the closest forum that I can call "home" so here goes. I'm zone 5/6 - southern West Virginia (higher elevation.

We had a heavy frost overnight and another expected tonight. Last frost date here is supposed to be May 10th.
No hurry for me though since I started seeds late and have nothing to plant out yet.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 10:44PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

30F @ my place the morning of 4/14/05. Columbine growing quite a bit, Weeping willow already has small leaves, Dawn redwood & larches have tiny expanding rosettes of leaves, and forsythia in full bloom. None were bothered. Not a "killing" freeze, unless you had tomatoes sitting out.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 8:49AM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

I'm so glad I don't listen to the books. Like I said before, our last frost date was supposed to be April 11th, yet I've awoken to frost on the ground all this past week, & tonight temps are supposed to drop down into the 20's!!!

I'm so glad I stick to my non-scientific schedule of not planting tender things out until Mothers' Day.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 12:14PM
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babywatson(7)

I just heard on the news today they're expecting some temps around here to drop to thirty tonight, so anything really tender I'd cover with newspaper or bring inside. This area is so unpredictable, I never plant anything really tender till May. I've been caught running out at 10:30 at night too often covering up stuff with newspapers.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 1:27PM
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pjdsr(z7 VA)

What do you mean by "anything tender"? How worried should I be about tonight's low temps?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 1:54PM
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marymd7

Any perennials already popping up should be just fine. Ditto most trees and shrubs starting to bud out with the exception of any fruit trees in or about to blossom (the trees themselves will still be ok, but the fruit set this year may suffer). Cool season vegetables (which really should be the only things out in the veg garden right now anyway) like radishes, lettuces, peas etc. should be fine. If you've put more tender vegetables like tomatoes or peppers out, you've got to protect them. Any annual flowers or plants you've set out (other than hardy pansies) should be protected.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 3:47PM
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drtynails(z6 MD)

Mother Nature reads this forum and is chuckling to herself right now. She has a mean spirit sometimes. Maryland springs are notoriously unpredictable.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 9:44AM
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mtmama42(z5-6 WV)

It's that time of year .... sweatshirts in the morning, t-shirts in the afternoon. It's a really sunny day here. On a morning errand I saw a yard with 4 small trees or large shrubs covered with clear plastic. I really wanted to knock on the door and offer to remove them (it's 47 F here now). I just hope they don't get baked.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 10:17AM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

Heavy frost here (On the lower shore) last night.
29 nippy degrees at 06:30

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 12:37PM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

You even have to be careful with lettuce. Depending on the severity of the frost, lettuce won't take much.

But I'm a wuss anyway - I cover everything with rowcovers when unexpected cold snaps threaten.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 5:30PM
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DawnStorm(7/MD)

Dirty Nails, you are SO right!
I can tell you though, the tree pollen is out in full force right now!
PS--I always wait until Mom's Day to put out houseplants, and don't put out tomatoes until Memorial Day.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 4:19PM
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ms.maryliz

My tomatoes are out in a container on the balcony since a month or so and only took them inside for one day two weeks ago. Standing already 25" tall and they look healthy along with herbs and flowers. All I do is keep them from a draft I think that's the key. I know that they will double up in size as soon as we get a solid temperature stretch. Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 11:35AM
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farmerjude

You could also check my Frost Date Finder based on the NCDC's Freeze/Frost data...

Here is a link that might be useful: Frost Date Finder

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 7:21AM
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sujiwan_gw

I want to point out that it is May 9 and the weather.com and wunderground are saying patchy frost for May 10th for my area (Carroll), at least.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:19AM
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silkscreen001_aol_com

I live in Baltimore City and my tulips are 4 inches out of the ground.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 3:00PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

I'm near BWI, and usually figure on planting corn and beans during the 2nd half of April. Transplants like tomatoes and peppers usually go out a couple weeks later when things are a bit more stable.

This chart from MD Cooperative extention gives some reasonable ranges for locations across MD.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring Frost/Freeze Dates in Maryland

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:45AM
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