It's going to freeze Sunday???

behaviorkelton(7-ish)April 9, 2008

Last seasons late freeze was a first for me...and it seriously delayed the growth of my menagerie of freshly planted trees as they spent much of the summer simply trying to recover from the frostbite.

So the weatherman just said to expect 31 degrees for a low on Sunday.

This isn't a hard freeze as we had last April (in the teens!), but are there any plants to worry about?

I mean, most of them currently have tiny little delicate new sprigs of green growth so they are probably at their most vulnerable stage.

Can the new growth on the crape myrtles take it? (I have Natchez Crapes)



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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

The biggest problem with last year was not the late freeze, but the extended warming period before that freeze. It has been warm the last few days, but from what I can remember it's not been nearly as warm for as long as it had been last year. So with less extremes on both the hot and cold sides and a little luck, it shouldn't be as bad. It may kill some flowers but shouldn't do long term damage to hardy plants. I think the weather pattern predictions for this year are pretty typical of this area. Don't worry about the freeze; wish that the predicted (by some sources) continuation of the drought from last year doesn't occur.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:58AM
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Last year was amazingly bad. Super-shock freeze, wounded and stressed trees, followed by drought!

Yes, hopefully the drought prediction is wrong! The "" site still shows 40's on their prediction for the weekend.

I just planted bunches of Lantana, too.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:25AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

A lot of my plants are about three weeks behind where they were last year at this time.
But what worries me is the suddenly-colder-predictions that weren't out yesterday.
So...there are things that I'm not planting out until next week.
And there are some things that will be protected.
And I'll keep watching as the weather is fine tuned.

And I may put a water spray on my fruit trees.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 1:54PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Well dangit, I was about to move all my houseplants out. Dang!

Weather Underground for Knoxville is now saying mid-30's on Sunday, low 30's on Monday. DANG.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:15PM
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I just got the news about the cold this afternoon and I'm planning to cover everything with sheets, is that a good idea? Last year my shade bed never recovered after the freeze and I lost a Japanese Maple. I'm fairly new at this gardening thing and I really want to protect my babies out there. It's had a beautiful start this year almost everything is up and looks so pretty, I hate to see it bit back or killed.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 4:39PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Well, it depends on what the low actually turns out to be -- and on your microclimate. If it doesn't get below about 30, I personally wouldn't worry too much. The baby fruit on peaches and plums might get blasted, but most of the other plants will probably deal with it okay. OTOH, if you live outside of town and it drops down into the 20s, then IMHO you should definitely cover things. Sheets work fine, also blankets or newspapers. Just do NOT cover anything with plastic.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 9:42PM
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Here outside the Memphis area, we are looking at 40's for the weekend lows. So we might miss this one.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:00AM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

I wouldn't get too worried yet...local weather people like the dramatic. I always rely on weather channel. From my past experience, they are usually more accurate than Todd Howell! Weather Channel is saying upper 30's, low 40's. Thats what I'm sticking to for the time being. I think the overdramatization has a lot to do with last year's freeze. In reality, a freeze is VERY UNCOMMON at this time of year.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 2:00AM
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cannahavana(z7a Knoxville)

Weather Channel is saying 41° for the low on Sunday.

Dogwood winter?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:23AM
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The latest TV weather news (local) seems to have backed off on the suggestions of a freeze. I think I saw that 33 was the expected upcoming low.

Somehow, it didn't seem quite right from the start. I mean, looking back behind the approaching weather systems, I didn't see any serious "cold snap!" stuff on the way. Colder air, but not anything weird.

Last year was rough. I had just bought a home and invested most of my "upgrade" money in trees. I'm sure I bought close to 40 trees of various sorts: different types of dogwoods, different types of redbuds, cypresses, hemlocks, crape myrtles, 3 kinds of hollies, yews, and almost all of them were smacked backward from last years uber-freeze.

The whole reason I planted them first thing in my home ownership is that I wanted to get past that twiggy sapling phase of growth. These guys were in a very bad stage of growth when the freeze hit, so the summer was spent nursing their wounds rather than growing.

The one exception was the Nellie R. Stevens Hollies. Those guys were messed up after the freeze with all sorts of black dead new growth, but within a month, they were growing like crazy all through the summer and early fall.

Anyway, that freeze was my first "spring" in Tennessee and it has made me paranoid.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 9:33AM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Unfortunately, Weather Underground is still saying 31 for Monday night. Not a bad freeze, but still too cold for me to put the houseplants out. Dangit.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:21AM
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I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. I moved down here from Michigan in October of 2005 however I purchased my first house down here in Nashville in April of last year...just in time to watch the freeze kill off all the leaves on the six pin oaks on my property which was then followed by the drought which killed off all the leaves _AGAIN_. Luckily I had just started composting and had a good use for all of those oak leaves but god did it destroy the already poor landscaping and turf grass I had on the property.

As it is now, I just renovated the front lawn and the new (KBG) grass seed was only laid down last Sunday (April 6th) so we'll see. Having gotten a really bad case of sun poisoning in the process I will be incredibly frustrated if all of this pain and agony is in vain, lol...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:42AM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

I would more stock in the Weather Channel than Weather Underground.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:54PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

Latest for Knoxville on weather channel says 38. Of course, this will change again... I would be more worried if you are in the tri-cities or on the plateau.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 1:07AM
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Surely, most plants are sort of "built" to withstand the occasional late soft freeze.

Last year's freeze was in the teens, stayed down there for hours, and repeated for I think two or three days!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 7:14AM
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Older plants yes can withstand a frost but... There are many who have just planted or are planting their veggi beds and new plants for garden beds. These young plants will not have and easy time of it and most likly will not make it.

"ignorance is bliss, education is hard"

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 10:28AM
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tngreenthumb(z6 TN)

I never plant anything tender out before April 15th. Really tender stuff will wait another two weeks or so.

This is not at all UNcommon in TN. As cannahavana said, it's dogwood winter. Blackberry winter should be along in about a month and be less likely to actually frost, but it will feel cold.

This coming frost should be mild and of short duration, from the looks of things. I'm not going to worry about anything that is already growing outside. At least not at this point.

I think what happened last year was we had too much spring too early and then both dogwood and blackberry winter prety much came together.

Then it got hot and dry.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 11:55AM
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julieinknoxtn(Zone 7)

Well, guess I'll be hunting sheets or newspaper this weekend. I put out some pansies, alyssum, and salvia in our front beds on Monday, plus new mulch. I just hope I don't lose EVERYthing like last year; I'd put out a couple of boxes on our balcony rail and nothing managed to completely revive.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 12:17PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Well, your pansies won't care in any case. I grow pansies and violas all winter, every winter. They'll live through just about anything a Knoxville winter can dish out -- it's the SUMMER that gets em!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 2:35PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

Now they're saying 40's and 50's and rain for Knoxville. Like I said, don't jump to conclusions when it comes to TN weather!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 3:22PM
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Well, "" is saying 40 is the low over the next 10 days, but "weatherunderground" says 29!!!

And the news, this morning, said 31.

How can there be such disparity?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 11:25AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I wonder if anyone really keeps track of how far off the forecasts are. It would be nice to know if one source was frequently more accurate than other sources. I don't know how the forecasts are made, but if they have models they go by, maybe one model is more often correct than another. Someone needs to come up with a Consumer Reports of weather forecasters.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 1:00PM
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Yes, that would be interesting to know.

I would guess that they use similar models, but maybe it is a matter of how often they update their info.

Today, I bought some interesting plants, but not sure if I should plant them until the supposed 'frost' passes through.

Mayo's is having a sale on trees: Decent sized dogwoods for $10 and they have tons of them. They are too big for their pots, and they aren't any special variety of dogwood, but they have pinks, reds, and whites.

Also, I bought some cool Magnolia trees from Beaver Creek Nursery: One is a Sweet Summer and the other is a cross with Sweet Summer done by a somewhat somewhat popular local magnolia enthusiasts who recently passed away.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 5:05PM
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I hope it doesn't freeze--I've had baby blueberry bushes and grape vines inside that NEED to be planted. They've been in the house for a while now and I'm afraid of losing them if they have to wait much longer.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 5:35PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Hey Kelton, why would you pay $10 for a dogwood that was potbound and very likely to suffer from anthracnose? You should come to the Oak Ridge Arboretum Spring Plant Sale and get a few 'Appalachian Spring' dogwoods. They would be much more likely to be alive and healthy in a few years. You could also pick up some of the other gems being offered.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 11:02PM
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You are right Brandon, the dogwoods I bought are rather bad examples. I wouldn't say that they currently suffer from disease, but they certainly seem uncomfortably large for such small pots...and the soil looks sorta sparse.

I wanted some dogwoods to sort of shove up in my distant wooded area... hoping to get that understory dogwood look up there.

I have bought nicer varieties close in to the house... like Kornus Cousa.

So when is that Oak Ridge Plant Sale? I'd love to go.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:53AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

See the East Tennessee Plant Events Calendar posted earlier in this forum for all the details and many more events.

You can also keep up with what's going on by checking out the ET Plant Events section of the East Tennessee/Knoxville Plant Swap site at

Here is a link that might be useful: East Tennessee Plant Events Calendar (previous post)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:36PM
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I have three wine, half-barrels which I have planted veggies in. I started them from seeds inside and they are all (beans, peas, squash) in the leggy 3-4" size where they start branching out and vining... are they too vulnerable to leave unprotected if frost does happen tonight or tomorrow? All my other containers are coming back in the house but I can't move those wine barrels!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:01PM
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I don't know the answer, Mercury, but tonights weatherman seems confident that tonight is the only coldness that threatens a frost if it happens at all. He gave it a range from 30 to 35.

Thanks for the info Brandon!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 10:26PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

The peas should be fine. I dunno about the beans. The squash, IMHO, is the most likely to resent the cold nights. You really shouldn't plant squash outside until the weather warms up a bit more. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 1:53AM
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What exactly does blackberry winter and dogwood winter mean? I have heard of blackberry winter but not the dogwood one! Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:56PM
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