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Is anyone covering plants tonight?

Posted by prairiemoon2 zone 6a/MA (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 15, 14 at 18:47

I'm still trying to decide. I normally have a lot of pots I can turn over on some and I have done sheets and towels, but it's going to be pouring all night and I don't have pots this year. I'm not as worried about tonight with a forecast of 31 degrees, but tomorrow night supposed to be 27. And isn't rain supposed to lessen the damage? My shrubs are just leafing out too.

Is anyone planning to cover plants?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I realize we're in different zones and I'm sure your garden is a lot more advanced than mine at this point in time, but NOPE I will not be covering a thing. I woke up to 18 F this morning and wondered how the scilla survived the night (first thing blooming around here). I took this photo when we warmed up (cough, cough) to our high of 36 later in the day:

I figure if they could take that cold with no protection, I'm not worrying about anything else.

Kevin


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I'd love to hear from others on this! I just laid a blanket then tarp over two of my perennial beds to protect the astilbe and dicentra that shot up over our warm weekend, and moved some potted plants into the shed. We have sleet falling right now and overnight low of 27F, so we'll see what good it does!

I didn't protect my dwarf lilac, which is just leafing out but the flower buds are still hard...I imagine I won't be seeing those bloom?


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I covered a few things like a pink corn flower (that didn't look too hot last year so I'm determined to keep it alive) and my, thus far, lone surviving oriental poppy. A few others but I didn't cover any shrubs or anything, leafing or not. Everyone seems fine but we'll see... there were a few, shrubs and perennials, that if they didn't make a comeback I'd be okay with that.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I never cover anything ever. We've had cold and snow in May and I don't recall anything really being any worse for wear. But then again I have a pretty bad memory and LOTS of garden beds, so certainly I may have not even realized something was hit. LOL!


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

Once upon a time, we actually had a cold snap that was almost damaging.

I never know what to think of these threads. The entire concept is so far from my experience that it is almost like how do you grow things on Mars.

Yes, you really do have to cover things to keep the atmosphere in. If you don't cover things they may actually, eep, get cold, and well, get cold.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

We are getting down to 29-32 tonight. I have a lot of plants greening out plus a decent chink of wintersowing containers with sprouts/seedlings. Normally, I am like whatever. This time (after losing so much due to the horrible winter), I covered it all or brought it in. I mainly used cheap shower curtain liners from Dollar Tree. It rained a lot today, so that should help. Fingers are crossed!


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

Not here. Honestly, I didn't even think of it till I saw this post, which was probably a good thing because I had no time to cover anything today anyway, and had I thought about it, I only would have worried. Now I can't do anything anyway. Hopefully everything will be fine.

Is tomorrow night really supposed to be even colder? Sheesh, this must be all my fault. I got my snow tires taken off yesterday. :)

Dee


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

nothing ever covered here apart from seedling tomatoes. All hardy perennials simply laugh at snow, frost etc. and even if they are cut back, they grow again. Have had many years when the entire potato crop has simply vanished from sight, only to reappear, a week later. Plants can cope easily with cold - the real damage occurs during a fast thaw (so, for those really flustered, remove any east facing pots or cover tender plants in that situation). Or, weeks and weeks of totally frozen soil in pots. This is not happening so don't fret.

Many plants actually contain an anti-freeze to prevent cell wall damage, but mostly, all that will happen is that new tender growth might be a bit compromised, will brown and shrivel......AND WILL GROW BACK.
Yes, water helps - fruit growers in the UK often spray delicate peach and plum blossoms at night, with water.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

This pot of pansies should be okay once the snow melts off it. The sun is out already this morning. But tonight we are getting actual freeze temperatures, not frost temperatures with a forecast of 26F tonight and 28F tomorrow. I will be covering plants tonight but it may not do any good.

I'm sure you are right Campanula, what ever is damaged will grow back, but flower buds won't grow back again will they? If they freeze and are damaged, we will be waiting another year for blooms and fruit in some instances. And the spring bulbs may not look the same after temperatures that low. Oh well, not much to be done about it anyway, will just have to wait and see what happens.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

  • Posted by mxk3 z5b/6 MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 11:14

No. The perennials that are just starting to poke through will be fine. Actually, I went outside this morning, as I have the day off work today, and noticed green shoots all over the beds - mind you, we awoke to a blanket of SNOW yesterday morning. The plants are all fine :0)

The only things I would consider covering would be the Japanese maples if they were leafed out more, because a freeze will zap those leaf buds. That happened one year and the trees did recover but really looked worse for wear that year - so it is an aesthetic issue, not a survival one. The buds are swollen but have not opened yet on the trees, so no worries at this point.

Plants are a heck of a lot tougher than people sometimes give them credit for - but the key to not worrying about them is grow zone-appropriate plants.

Now, I have been growing some seedlings and overwintered annual geraniums in the house which I have been taking out during the days to get them lots of warm sunshine; obviously, they are brought into the house every night at this point, nights are still too cold to leave seedlings outside - hopefully in a couple weeks it will be a different, less laborious, situation.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

  • Posted by mxk3 z5b/6 MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 11:15

No. The perennials that are just starting to poke through will be fine. Actually, I went outside this morning, as I have the day off work today, and noticed green shoots all over the beds - mind you, we awoke to a blanket of SNOW yesterday morning. The plants are all fine :0)

The only things I would consider covering would be the Japanese maples if they were leafed out more, because a freeze will zap those leaf buds. That happened one year and the trees did recover but really looked worse for wear that year - so it is an aesthetic issue, not a survival one. The buds are swollen but have not opened yet on the trees, so no worries at this point.

Plants are a heck of a lot tougher than people sometimes give them credit for - but the key to not worrying about them is grow zone-appropriate plants.

Now, I have been growing some seedlings and overwintered annual geraniums in the house which I have been taking out during the days to get them lots of warm sunshine; obviously, they are brought into the house every night at this point, nights are still too cold to leave seedlings outside - hopefully in a couple weeks it will be a different, less laborious, situation.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I had 20 degrees yesterday morning; the Daybreak magnolia which was about to open its first bloom had every single bud blasted, even those not close to opening. The brunneras were completely toast--never seen that before. The late daffodils were knocked down and after a day of good sun, still hadn't recovered. Not sure they will.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I am so sorry to hear, Lacey. :(


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

So the report here from Massachusetts is that it got down to 26 degrees F at our house last night. At 7pm we went out to cover as many plants as we could and at 8pm when we came in it was already 32 degrees outside. I was up in the night about 2am and it was 26 at that time. At 7am this morning it was back up to 32 degrees, so at least 5hrs at that low temperature.

Just came in from removing the covers off the plants. A lot of things look very good. Unless they are in a frozen state and will deteriorate later in the day? And of course, I can’t tell if the buds of flowers have been killed yet. But Perennials all look pretty good, even the few that I didn’t cover. The only perennial that looks bad, is Hellebore of all things. That really surprised me. Hellebore ‘Ivory Prince’ was upright yesterday and this morning it is in a deep swoon. Some were covered a few were not and they all look unhappy. Those I covered had what looks like frozen leaves. So I plan to keep my eye on those to see if they recover. Julia Child Rose had a sheet over her and so far the new growth looks like it did before yesterday. New barefoot roses all got covered with bark mulch and then a cover over that and I haven’t taken a close look at those yet, but fingers crossed. The daffodils that were already blooming are not looking good at all, flopping a lot. But I had many that were not open yet.

So….another night of below freezing temps and then we may be in the clear.

mxk3, I’m pretty conservative in sticking to plants hardy to my zone. I often even look for plants that are hardy to a zone or two colder than mine, too. I still worry. [g]

Lacey, that’s a shame! That is really a low temperature! In West Virginia? That’s kind of crazy that you’re colder then we are in New England. Are you in high elevations or in a valley or something?


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I guess I'll jump in on this too. . . I don't cover anything. . . ever. . . my theory is. . . if it comes up it has the guts to survive. If the new leaves freeze it wont even be noticeable come July. I don't think we have to worry about the ground/below the surface freezing. . . I have a vine that supposedly wont leaf out until there is no danger of frost. . . one year in June it froze and all the leaves turned brown, crisp and fell off. . . but later in the summer one wouldn't even know it had happened. . . annuals on the other hand, that's a different story. Here in Montana nothing goes in the ground until Memorial day weekend. . . just to be safe. . .


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I wound up putting lightweight frost cloth over the emerging second-year "Cheyenne Spirit" echinaceas*, and left everything else alone. We got down to 23F Wednesday morning, and while the Brunneras got burned, everything else seems OK (the Brunnera should be back a little later on).Fortunately my Magnolia hybrids tend to be late bloomers so they were spared the fate of the early saucer Magnolias that were in full bloom in our area, but are now in full brown.

*I see that seed prices for this Echinacea have dropped, to the point where you can get 30 seeds for less than the price of one plant from White Flower Farms. :)

This post was edited by eric_oh on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 8:28


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

We went down to about 20F and although I'm not one to fuss there was some damage. A few random hyacinths have blooms which look 'melted' and a few tulips have damaged leaves and the plants are flattened. I don't expect them to stand up again, but hopefully they'll still bloom. Some of the blooming daffs are laying down too, I think they're done.
Still I wouldn't bother covering, there's just too much stuff! Plus things like 10 inch tall tender delphinium sprouts which I was worried for look just fine, so I doubt I would have covered the right things anyway.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

I'm in the mountains--of course, and in what's known as a frost pocket, so I'm used to getting frost when others don't or a freze when others get a frost. But that temp is unheard of this late in the year. The following night, I had light frost even though the sky was cloudy.


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

Gee, you mean you don't live in the nice flat part of West Virginia? ;)


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RE: Is anyone covering plants tonight?

Ha, the nice flat part of WV. But even in the mountains there are open areas and then there are frost pockets--in a holler at the foot of a mountain that cold air just streams down on you. And as for that 20 degree night--I didn't cover the peas, up a couple of inches--who covers peas!!?? And they got bit pretty bad. Never, ever seen or heard of that.


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