Back to cold

rouge21_gw(5)May 8, 2013

After 2 weeks of outstanding weather ie sun and warmth, there is a forecast of frost this coming Monday! I have planted a few sensitive plants that will need to be protected but it is tender Japanese Maple leaves that may be at greatest risk. Any cold forecast for you?

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Yes, the same sort of thing in the forecast for here too - there's always a frost in the forecast just as the wisteria flower buds are starting to develop :-( Most years the frost misses us or is light and doesn't do a lot of damage. With the crazy fluctuations in the weather this year, goodness knows what will happen when the cold strikes this time....!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:45AM
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gardenweed_z6a

According to the Farmers Almanac, there's always a frost around mid-May. A couple of years ago I read on their email newsletter to expect frost on the 'Frost Saints' Days' which are May 11, 12 & 13 if I recall correctly. Last year I planned for it--bought lots of sheer curtains and clothes-pinned them to all my own hydrangeas as well as the neighbors'--so naturally the temperature stayed around 40 all three nights. There's nothing in the forecast for frost-like temps here that I've seen so far.

Good luck to you both.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:14PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Yes, frost predictions for us here as well. Hoping no frost, I don't want my plants zapped, especially my hostas, or the lilac flowers now that they are just about to open.

Karen

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:26PM
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mori1(5b/6a)

I feel your concern, we had snow for two days last week. I was out there like a crazy person trying to cover up plants.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:28AM
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lindaw-cincy(6)

We have a frost warning tonight. Hope it is the last.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:33PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Frost missed us last night but it's in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow night too. I've got my fingers firmly crossed that it doesn't happen - the Chinese wisteria flowerbuds are 1-2" long now and the Japanese ones are just expanding, so they're at their most vulnerable stage. The Clematis montana buds are also looking good this year so far. Just before noon today we had 15-20 minutes where it rained ice! Not hail and not rain but actual ice falling - very odd...!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:54PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Tonight is supposed to be in the high 30's. Chance of frost for both Monday and Tuesday. Since it is only a light frost, it isn't an issue. Anything budding or blooming now has to understand the cold is a possibility. It is almost ten degrees warmer than damaging cold.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:07PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

I'm so thankful I don't live in the extreme cold zones like you all do!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:39PM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

Chance of frost in Nashville, TN tonight according to a friend! Not likely here in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. We will see.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Oh for sure we are going to get more frosts, zone 8 whatever - June 16th is the latest I remember (I lost dahlias, sweetcorn, squash....the usual stuff)
I find this all a bit stressy - I am in and out of the greenhouse, faffing about with fleece. As usual, several plot-holders at the allotment will be tempted to try french beans or tomatoes while it is still May.......fools.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 6:39PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

We have a *freeze* warming for tonight - I put plastic over my Japanese maples, old sheets over my tree peonies, and pots over my hostas (my hostas got toasted once years ago when we had a late freeze). Sigh...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:34PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Definitely appropriate given the continuing cold "spring" weather.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 1:19AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

It looks like we just dodged a light frost (overnight low was about 37F). I had shut up my fully-packed coldframes and used lightweight frost cloth to cover the few annuals and tender vegetables I'd planted, as well as lugged all the potted figs and Brugmansias into the basement (come Tuesday, I'll drag them all out again).

Hopefully that's the last frost alarm.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:03AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It was windy enough last night to keep frost at bay. Another frost warning for tonight though - I sure hope it's the last one! Our average last frost date is the end of April but we usually have a few 'risk of frost' days about now. Most are false alarms so I hope that continues to hold true....

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 10:28AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

'woody', I am not too far from you and heavy frost is more likely tonight and tomorrow night :(. The last (average) frost date for my location is May 13...so technically what we might experience right now shouldn't be unexpected.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:01AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

mxk3 wrote: I put plastic over my Japanese maples,

Do you mind elaborating on this mxk3? A picture would be perfect.

I have 2 newer JM, one planted last December and one planted in April. Both are leafing out. Last night I attempted to put in a bed sheet over each but with the wind I was worried that their skinny branches might break with the movement caused by the significant breeze coupled with the extra weight of the sheets. So in the end I removed the sheets and by chance there was no frost. But tonight is even more threatening. I would like to know what you do specifically as protection for your maples.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:07PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

rouge - one of the advantages of being near the lake is that, while our spring tends to be very cool, frost is less likely here, both because of the 'heat sink' effect of the lake and because of winds off the lake keeping the air stirred up. That's why our usual last frost date is a few weeks earlier than at your more inland location. Things can be quite variable over even a short distance. In the late fall it can be raining here while just a couple of km. further inland it can be snowing. Similarly in spring we can be frost-free while a few km. inland gets frost. The dividing line between the two conditions tends to be the QEW... So, while you're not too far away, you're defintely on the wrong side of the highway :-) But this spring has been unusually cold so we can't count on the 'usual' being what will actually happen!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:10PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I already took everything down this morning - sorry I didn't see your post earlier or I would have snapped pics.

I just used the cheapie plastic painter drop cloths from the hardware store and used clothespins to pin to the branches.

The sheets would be heavier - ok on plants with sturdier branches, I just used clothespins and rocks to anchor if the sheets and tablecloth hit the ground. All I had to do was get it to stay covered just one night...

It would have been a lot harder if the wind hadn't died down last night. Not easy to be out there pinning plastic after dark, but it was so darn windy earlier in the day.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:41PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Rouge: If there's a frost/freeze warning, I would cover the Jap. maples, *especially* if they're not fully leafed out yet - the Jap. maples in our area took a beating last spring when that happened. I'm not sure if there would be damage if they're fully leafed out (but I protected last night anyway just to play it safe), but those partly-opened buds will be toast if they get hit.

Our last frost date is somewhere around mid to early-late May, and if it would have been frost warning only I probably wouldn't have bothered protecting since in all these years my Jap. maples never took damage (before that wonky early bud break last year), but like I said it was a freeze warning.

I have heard that if you hit the plants with water (hose/sprinkler) before the sun hits the frost there won't be any damage, its the sun hitting the ice that damages the plant cells. Does anyone know if that's actually true?

Or, you could set up tiki torches overnight around your plants. Couldn't look any worse than plants covered in plastic HAHA!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:46PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

After your post I remembered that I had some plastic that I had used for drop cloths for painting. I was able to clothes pin a couple of such sheets around two of my maples. See one of them below. However again the frost didnt come...at least not within a hundred feet of the house. I think that is it for any really cold weather. Let the planting begin!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 6:27AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

No frost here either.... The countdown to the wisterias blooming can begin..... :-)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 10:20AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Hey, I'd rather protect then be SOL if the freeze *did* hit. Cothespinning some plastic isn't time consuming, would rather be safe than sorry! :0)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:44PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I am not complaining mxk3. It was easy. Thank you for the idea. I am just glad there was no frost if only because of other plants I couldn't protect.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:50PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Tis an odd season. We almost got down to freezing a couple of nights ago and right now it's 95 F. Heck, we had snow on the ground a couple of weeks ago.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 5:02PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Tuesday morning was down to 29F here in Pa, snow and rain from yesterday all froze overnight. As I left for work in the morning I pushed against a hosta and the whole thing moved, it was frozen into one solid piece.
On the good side all the Japanese knotweed is a mushy wilted mess (but I'm sure it will recover), on the bad side maples are singed, wisteria is a mess of brown blooms and dying foliage, my giant reed grasses are all brown and wilting, hostas are dying back and will probably show more damage today.
We had a 26F late frost last year that killed off a few things completely auch as maples and roses, I'm hoping these will all bounce back, I just hate looking at damaged hosts leaves all summer....

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:00PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Absolutely not fair (at least in my neck of the woods) i.e. tonight, May 25 no less, it is forecast to hover right around 32 F. I held off planting all my annuals until last weekend which in most any given year should be safe. I wont sleep tonight ;).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:05PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

45 tonight here in NC! What the heck???!!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:57PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

36F is in the forecast here for tonight and 37F for tomorrow night - what month is this?!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 9:22PM
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trovesoftrilliums(5)

Ok y'all just gave me a scare here a out low temps but I see the low for Iowa is only 50 so plants should be ok here. I have been taking advsntage if the cool past couple of days and transplanted several shrubs and misc items I had planted in odd spots.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:13PM
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linlily(z5/6PA)

They are forecasting 38, 40, and 42 degree lows for tonight and the next two nights. That's too close for comfort. While we haven't put the tomato plants in as yet, I did plant my annuals in my large containers this past week. We covered all the containers, moved the plants that have not yet been planted into the garage, and covered the hydrangea. It has taken a beating already this year. We had light frost a couple of times, once when it was not covered. Then, exactly 2 weeks ago, a storm went through with some golf ball size hail, which beat up the leaves. You should see the holes in my Blue Angel and Plantaginea Hostas!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather person is wrong this time.

Linda

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:18PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

It's 39* now and raining with a stiff North wind; started a fire in the wood stove.

Up to 3-5" inches of snow predicted tonight above 2000'.

Last month had temps. about 20* above average (felt good) so it shouldn't come as a surprise (unwelcome) when it's 20* below average.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 6:46AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

At the start of the week they were forecasting a Saturday a.m. (5/25) low of 47 - cooler than it's been for the past couple weeks, but no big deal. Then the forecast low started dropping - 45...42...38. I dragged about a third of my potted plants back in, then decided the heck with it, even though the last forecast Friday night called for "patchy frost". I could have scrambled around putting frost cloth over all the tender vegetation and hauling all the potted plants in, but it was every plant for itself last night.

So this morning's low bottomed out near 40.

I still have a bunch of plants to bring back out, but nowhere near as bad as if I'd gone into full panic mode.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 9:17AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Saved by a breeze off the lake here....!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 12:10PM
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