The impact of late freezes on your plants

Much of the Midwest, including here in Indiana, just received snow — in May. You may be wondering what this means for your flowers, trees and other plants you assumed were safe from further freezes until the fall.

Is this normal?

While this late freeze probably came as a shock to you (and your plants), it’s actually relatively normal to get an outlying cold-temperature day in the spring. Your plants that flower in the spring have likely started to bloom, but the good news is an isolated cold snap is not likely to just kill them off if they were strong and healthy to begin with. 

Ways to protect them 

  • Building strength: Like taking Vitamin C during flu season (or a global pandemic) gives us a better shot at staying healthy, building up general health prevents plants from being fragile and succumbing to snap freezes. Some tips to maintain this strength are to water at the roots, fertilize, and weed around the plant.. This should prepare them for an occasional freeze. 
  • Cover them with a blanket: This may seem like an odd or even extreme measure to take, but it’s common practice, and it works. The plant covers serve two purposes: They prevent frost from forming, and they trap heat coming up from the ground. Having extra warmth and no frost can make all the difference. If it’s snowing though, the weight on top of the blanket can collapse the blanket and crush your plants, so find a way to prop them up if the temperatures are accompanied with precipitation. 
  • Bring them inside: If you have potted plants or flowers that are somewhat fragile, and expensive, you can always bring them inside for a short period if you know the weather forecast looks unfavorable. 

Hardiness zones

Modern Americans get really used to having anything we like, regardless of where in the world it originally comes from. We eat tropical fruit in the winter and don’t think much of it. But if you are going to grow plants outside, a flower or other ornamental plant may not easily survive in Indiana’s climate. 

Thanks to Purdue University’s great horticulture resources, you can see at the link (here) exactly which plants are suitable to which area of Indiana you live in and also what the effects of a late freeze are likely to be on those plants. 

Anthony’s can help protect your plants in spring

It can be very disappointing if you spend a lot of time — and money — on beautiful fruit trees, flowers and ornamental plants only to have them killed or harmed in a late frost. We know. But we also know that with a good plan and proper execution, your investment can be protected so you can enjoy those plants throughout the warmer months. 

If you live in the Bloomington, Indiana, area, (including Clear Creek, Dolan, Ellettsville, Elwren, Handy, Kirby, New Unionville, Unionville and Whitehall) call (812) 345-5694 to speak to an Anthony’s representative, and we can discuss the right plan for your plants.