Cold temperatures taking a toll on Middle TN trees - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Cold temperatures taking a toll on Middle TN trees


The cold weather has not only been brutal on pipes and heating bills, but it's also causing another problem for homeowners and landscapers.

Evergreen trees, especially hollies and crape myrtles, are having a tough time keeping their color this winter.

"It's that long, cold temperature that is really hard on them. When the ground freezes, it prevents the water from moving up and, basically, the plants just dry up and die," said Adam Blalock, with the Tennessee State University research nursery program.

This is going to be a hard hit for the area's economy. Warren County is the so-called "nursery capital of the world," and landscapers ship the county's trees all over.

It will be a wait-and-see year at Randall Walker's nursery outside McMinnville, but he's hopeful.

"The damage has always come when we had warm weather for several days prior to a hard freeze and the sap rise. It is just like a water pipe busting, and I don't see that," said Walker, of Randall Walker Farms.

But he is seeing wind burn, which could mean the trees need a trim. If they cut deep enough, though, it will cost him another year before he can sell the trees.

"In this part of the country, it is over a $100 million industry," Walker said.

For now, many nurseries are taking precautions, housing trees in greenhouses and just hoping meteorologists bring a better forecast.

"We need moderate temperatures. No more of these teens, these zeroes - negatives especially. We don't need anymore of that," Blalock said.

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