Help, says the Plant. Save Me!

Plants are so easily fooled by the weather. It’s sad that they can’t be bothered to carry a pocket calendar. That’s silly? Well so are plants trying to bloom in mid-March in Michigan!! All you southerns are probably giggling, but this is some serious business for the plants up here where it is still supposed to be chilly and it’s up to us to save their pretty season.

Sure we are setting all kinds of new record high temperatures but problems are looming on the horizon!! We may not get our typical last snow of the season this year in early April, but it is a safe bet that several frost will visit my town and yours between now and Memorial Day.

What to do? The lilac buds are already appearing, but the pretty flowers are not yet here…it will frost before they bloom…no lilac blooms this year…and that scenario gives me the ugly face.

There are several options actually. I’m going to give you the 3 I am familiar with: bring inside, cover or water. These tips are important this year, but keep them in mind for anytime you have vulnerable plants and frost decides to visit.

  • Bring inside: easy if your plant is in a pot, not so easy when your plant is in the ground. Simple solution: don’t plant in your pots until you are sure frost is done for the spring. If you want to pot early prepare for some lifting or continue reading for the other two options.
  • Cover: burlap works best but a sheet will do. Be careful with the sheets. Do not allow the sheet to touch the delicate new life on the plants, since the harsh gold will seep through and still cause damage. Use polls, sticks or what ever you have to keep the fabric up and off the plants.
  • Water: I’ve had great success with the water option. Water the plant the night before the expected frost and BEFORE the sun goes down. Watering when the temperatures are still warm will keep the warmth in your plants. Be sure to cover the plant and the soil around the plant with a water.

If you forgot to bring in, cover or water the night before a frost you do have on last chance. WARNING: this may or may not work. Before the sun shines down on your frost covered plants drench them in water, rinse away signs of the frost and cross your fingers that while the frost was on your plants it didn’t do any lasting damage.

Good luck plant lovers, now I’ve got to go weed. It’s only March, gosh this is so weird.

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