low temps and frost

peaceofmindApril 5, 2007

I just came back in from covering plants in preparation for the cold temperatures tonight. I have very seldom covered anything but it is predicted to stay so cold for so long I wanted to try to help the poor plants a bit.

Gaylord Hauser, the county extension man, was on one of the noon news programs and he didn't think covering things was a big help. I thought it helped to prevent the plants from being touched by the frost but we shall see. Hauser was very sympathetic to the plight of commercial growers and orchard owners. There is so little they can do.

One amazing sidelight of all this was the amount of old sheets and blankets we were able to find in our house. Some of the sheets were so old and yellowed I was ashamed to put them out on the flowerbeds. Talk about airing your dirty linen...


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Anise, I gave up covering anything years ago with the exception of strawberries. I bought some of that polyspun material for them and it does wonders. No strawberries to protect this year though. I didn't use it for anything else. Just too much territory to cover. I never could see it helped muchto cover. Now if it is just a light frost, it might help, but down in the 20's and teens .......

I can't tell yet how bad things are hurt now....but the worst is yet to come!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:04AM
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Anise, LOL made me laugh about the sheets because i was out doing the same thing last night. I thought, gads! what must the neighbors think?! We had snow this morning and clear and 16 degrees tonight. So the old crummy sheets will be out again!! For all the good it will do...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 4:50PM
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Someone could start a business selling green camo sheets to gardeners who don't want their neighbors to raise their eyebrows. hehehe

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 5:32PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

It was down to 32 at 9:00 pm so know it'll get to the 20,s by morning. I went outside at 1:00 AM and it was snowing. this morning everything was covered but it all melted by 2:00 pm. I dread looking at the damage tomorrow. I think most things will come back tho.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 1:18AM
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kaye(7a AR)

Got down to 29 here last night..and supposed to get colder tonight. We covered what we could of the perenniels. I hated to lose the blooms on the hydrangeas again this year. Cannas took a hit I could tell this morning but a lot of damage won't show up 'til later. Someone on the Rose Forum said the old timers called this a "Blackberry Winter". Sure enough, they are blooming here when this hit. Snow in Dallas I heard this morning. The last snow we ever got in the DFW area in all the years we lived there was in March.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Kaye - I had a flower bud forming on one of my hydrangeas already. : ( It's one I brought from my mother's that usually blooms pretty good even if it dies back to the ground which it will probably do this year.

I was going to go out and uncover everything but at 11:00 it was still only 28 so I guess I'll wait awhile.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 12:27PM
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I planted a crepe myrtle last week and we have had temps down
to 18 the past two nights. The crepe myrtle looks really bad.
Will it come out of the burn from the frost or is it gone?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 1:53PM
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If you just planted that crepe myrtle, it may be gone, but you can always wait to see for sure. I had tiger lilies 2 feet tall and lots of other lilies 6 inches tall. They look really bad. Does anyone know if they will come back?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 5:45PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

I've not gone anywhere near my flowers,though i see two daylilies out my livingroom window that looked cooked and one that looks ok. I may as well wait and get all the bad news at once. I don't think i've ever been through such an extended cold this late before. I'm still hopeful most things will rebound.

Anise and arkietransplant, just let your neighbors know you're sacrificing your antique sheets for your plants LOL

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 2:42AM
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It may take awhile for your Crape Myrtle to leaf out again if it's going to. They leaf out kind of late anyway. I didn't cover mine since they didn't have any leaves yet. If you want to check back, I can let you know when I start to see new growth on mine.
This late freeze following such a warm March is unusual. I have many trees and shrubs with mushy leaves, but the old timers I've talked to are confident that they will leaf out again. It surely must be hard on them though especially since so many lost limbs in our ice storm. We need to be extra careful to keep stuff watered this summer I think. Drought would be harder on them than usual.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 7:02AM
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kaye(7a AR)

Sunday morning was 22 here and a lot of things are frozen. The roses did okay..what blooms they had are lost but the bushes look okay. We had sprayed the week before with Wilt-Pruf and that seemed to have helped. We won't see blooms on the hydrangeas again this year..except for Annabelle. She always come thru on new wood. A lot of the trees have leaves turned to mush..but they will recover. Spring bloom was beautiful..while it lasted.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 10:28AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

What are you going to do with frozen hosta foliage? I think I read before that you cut it back to prevent rot from spreading down to the crown. I tried to find this on the hosta forum with no luck.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Helen - I checked over there too. I found one reply that said it should be cut back but another that said to wait so I don't know what to do. I'm wondering the same about my iris since some of them look mushy especially my variegated iris. : ( Let me know what you find out. I'm leaning toward removing the foliage unless it looks like it's only partially frozen (not sure I have any that are only PARTIALLY frozen)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 11:39AM
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I think I understood a horticulturist on television saying not to cut anything back until the danger of freeze was over. It would just freeze back the unfrozen stuff you have exposed by trimming. At least, that is what I am going to do .... wait. Sure looks like this will be a slim perennial year for me.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 3:13PM
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My gut instinct is that we should just leave the damaged plants alone for a week or two. Handling them or trying to trim them just might cause more damage. Now if you go ahead and trim yours,Christie, let us know how it goes. This is a learning situation for us all.

Gldno, my antique sheets are flapping on the clothes line this afternoon. I threw away one complete set of sheets that my girls used.They are all over thirty and long moved out. Some of the others have found a new home. My grandson was looking at the sheets I had spread out and said they looked better than the ones on his bed. I'll send the nice ones to him after I get them washed up. Maybe he'll trade me his sponge bob squarepants sheets. LOL
The plants are on their own now. As I gathered up the coverings I couldn't tell much difference between what had been covered and what had not. I don't think we will really know the extent of the damage until some time has past.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 4:39PM
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"Gaylord Hauser" or "Gaylord Moore"? If it stays cold for a long period of time, that is correct that covering probably won't do much good. One or two nights yes, but not much more and it depends on the temp and what stage each plant is at.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:19PM
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