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Ensuring your new buds, blooms survive the cold snap

Temperatures in Central Virginia will once again drop into the low 20s overnight, meaning anything you planted recently in your flower beds needs to be covered
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 5:43 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Temperatures in central Virginia will once again drop into the low 20s overnight, meaning anything you planted recently in your flower beds needs to be covered up!

The rollercoaster weather recently has had many people moving forward with planting things, but now experts are weighing in on what to do to ensure those buds and blooms survive the frigid temperatures.

At Cross Creek Nursery & Landscaping, sprinklers ran throughout much of the day on Monday. It may seem odd to water plants with the chilly temperatures, but experts there said it’s a good idea.

“We’re running irrigation again throughout the day just to make sure nothing goes in tonight dry,” said Nursery Manager Sam Taylor.

That is the key if you’ve already planted - making sure the leaves have moisture before you cover them up for the night with a frost cloth or sheet.

“Anything that’s new or tender, just have it really well watered,” Taylor said. “Leaves that are dry are the most susceptible to freezing temperatures. A leaf that is full of water is way more insulated and can handle that cold better.”

Some of the growers for Cross Creek run water over the plants right as temperatures freeze.

“The water will be sitting on the plant as we go into the freezing temperature, and it will ice, covering the bud, and that will actually provide a layer of insulation,” Taylor said.

Growers for Cross Creek Nursery sometimes run irrigation over plants before freezing occurs in...
Growers for Cross Creek Nursery sometimes run irrigation over plants before freezing occurs in order to insulate the plants.(Jason McAuliffe)

According to Taylor, that method could be an option for you as well, but it may not work for the blooms some folks already purchased over the weekend.

“Keep it in their garage, keep it protected and just wait [to plant],” Taylor said.

In years past, the last frost in Virginia usually happens mid-April. However, recent warm winters also throw curveballs for those with a green thumb.

“The lack of really cold air in the winter, means that things start to bloom sooner and then those early spring cold fronts can do a lot of damage,” said NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden.

“Certain annuals, if they’ve gone too far, it could kill them,” Taylor said.

Instead, some say it’s best to wait until mother nature has made up her mind.

“May 1, you can feel comfortable planting unless you look at the 7-day forecast, and we’re saying something crazy is going to happen,” Freiden said.

However, Taylor urged people not to panic if their flowers suffer from the cold weather.

“Give the plant time to naturally recover,” he said. “Sometimes pruning off some of the dead or frostbitten material and then letting it flush back out from there is really helpful.”

Meanwhile, many shrubs and perennials should bounce back okay from the cold snap. Experts say it all comes down to knowing how your plants respond when the weather changes.

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