May 11, 2014 12:27 AM by Kelsey Kennedy

Protect your plants as temperatures plummet

It's Mother's Day tradition for many to plant gardens this weekend each year, but with falling temperatures and snow on the way, you'll need to protect your plants from succumbing to the cold.

Annuals and vegetables, or anything above ground, will need protected as we brace for below freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. If you haven't planted your annuals yet, just bring them indoors. If you have, cover them with fabric instead of plastic so they can still breathe. Home Depot Nursery Specialist, Brian Porter says you should give your plants a deep watering for a better shot at surviving the cold.

"A well watered plant is going to hold up much better to a frost than one that is wilted," he says.

For seeded beds that aren't up yet, plastic covers can't hurt. "Those plants are not quite ready for oxygen yet, so plastic would keep the warmth in the ground, and a slight chill off," Porter says.

Dennis Duncan, an organic rhubarb farmer says his plants are one of the few vegetables suitable for Colorado's climate.

"It's just getting into its prime," he says. "This weather that's coming, if it's as predicted, won't phase it at all."

An early June harvest helps make rhubarb so resilient. Duncan's plants will grow a couple of inches per day for the next few weeks.

For annuals however, snow is extra dangerous. "You have to be sure as the snow melts, the ice water doesn't get to their roots," he says. "Because that will also kill them. Perennials that have just been planted will also be in shock."

Frost can also cause trouble for fruit trees that have already started to bloom.

"It'll knock the bloom off," Porter says. "And then prevent you from getting fruit that year, but it does not kill the tree."

Most plants can withstand temperatures near freezing, but we're expecting overnight lows in the twenties, which can be detrimental to even the hardiest plant material.



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