WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Many of you may be worried about your plants as we deal with day after day of below freezing temperatures in Southeastern North Carolina.
WECT asked New Hanover County Arboretum Director Al Hight if the extended period of cold weather could doom plants that are more sensitive to cold weather, like palm trees.
"This time of year with the day lengths being very short… the plants are very dormant, we haven't had any warm weather to make them want to grow. So when they are fully dormant, you usually don't have nearly as many problems," Hight said. "Usually with plants, it's later in the season after you've had a little warm weather and then you get a cold blast, that's when you see a lot of damage."
Hight said that the leaves on certain trees, particularly palms and Oleanders, may be ruined by this blast of cold weather, but the established trees themselves should be fine. He advised against pruning any dead leaves until February.
There are three trunk forming palms that are common here and reliably cold-hardy: Sabal Palmetto, Pindo palm, and the Chinese windmill palm. Brand new palms and plants are more at risk of damage, but those that have been in the ground for a few years should survive this current period of cold weather.
If you have expensive plants around your home, you may want to bring them inside if they are potted or cover them to protect them.
Make sure the soil is most, but resist the temptation to spray your outdoor plants with a garden hose.
Hight says even though blueberry and strawberry farmers sometimes spray their crops when temperatures freeze, that strategy usually does more harm than good when you are at home using a garden hose.
Hight says while the temperatures have been consistently cold here recently, they have not dipped to the kind of extremes that would pose a significant threat to plants.