Gardener offers tips on protecting early blooms as potentially freezing weather moves in
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Warm temperatures throughout February meant getting a head start on springtime activities, including getting gardens started.
The National Weather Service even moved the first day of Wilmington’s growing season up to March 9 as some plants started blooming early.
Now, as potentially freezing temperatures move into the area throughout the week, gardeners are warning people to take precautions to keep their plants alive, especially any new growth that is especially sensitive to cold weather.
“They’re really susceptible at this moment to that frost that’s coming our way and it can actually kill the entire plant,” said Rebecca Patman, owner of the Garden Shop on Moss.
WECT’s weather team declared Tuesday and Wednesday a First Alert Action Day in response to the possibly freezing weather moving through the area this week.
Patman said if you can, you should bring your plants inside -- especially house plants and tropical plants like elephant ears and banana plants. But if that’s not possible, there are other ways you can keep them alive despite the frigid temps.
She said putting pine straw or mulch over a garden can keep it from sustaining damage from the cold weather. You can also use blankets or towels -- though Patman warned against using plastic like trash bags, as it can hold moisture and damage the plants.
Once the cold weather moves out, Patman said it’s normal to see a few crisp leaves on your plants. But she said if you remove those leaves, in a few weeks, warmer temperatures will likely have your garden good as new.
“Most of the stuff that is planted in the ground is kind of acclimated unless you’ve just planted it,” Patman said. “It’s kind of used to our crazy weather, so just giving it that extra buffer will just kind of be very beneficial and it will bounce back and continue to grow when we warm up.”
Patman recommends waiting to get started on your garden until closer to April 15, which is considered the last day for a potential freeze in the Wilmington-area. But if you’re ready to get back out there, she said March is the perfect time to do some winter clean up and prepare your yard for the spring.
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