NewsCovering Colorado


From record summer heat to winter-like conditions, our plants are in for a hard week

Tree branches could snap since they still have leaves
Posted at 1:01 AM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 07:28:05-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — With an early-season snowfall in the forecast for much of southern Colorado this week, many of our plants are not prepared to handle snow this early.

For 20 years, Robin Boutilier has walked the grounds at Good Earth Garden Center in Colorado Springs.

"Every day it is different," Boutilier said. "That is not a joke."

On Sunday, record-breaking heat called for lots of watering. And yet, on the same scorching afternoon, something was missing.

"Well, we are officially out of frost cloth," she said.

Taking one look at Tuesday's forecast, she saw another sign, a different day is ahead.

"Yes there is, there is a snowflake there," she said.

And then the phone calls started.

"Constantly," she said.

She says at least six an hour. Callers with lots of questions.

"Do we have any frost cloth? What do I need to do with my stuff? What about my newly planted shrubs," she said.

The answer to the first question, you already know, is no.

"A contingency plan is, are there some old sheets you aren't using right now? Are there some old towels you can tent things with," she said.

But when it comes to trees--

"There's not much too be done," she said. "You may see the loss of branches."

Trees aren't used to having snow this early, while they're still carrying the weight of their leaves.

"They still think it is summer, right this minute, and it is," Boutilier said. "And they're not gonna lose their leaves."

Which brings up a disappointing possibility.

"We would have needed a couple of evenings in the 35-degree range for some of the leaves to start coloring and turning colors, and we really haven't had that. It may make for a very dull fall here."

The best ways to minimize damage are to cover any plants you can and move your potted plants inside. While you can't keep tree limbs from snapping, you can minimize harm by moving cars and other objects away from trees before the cold front moves through.