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Protect plants from upcoming cold blast

By Rachael Plath, Meteorologist, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 30 2013 07:05:51 PM CDT

Temperatures are expected to plunge on Wednesday. With many southern Colorado gardens planted, and landscapes flourishing, there are steps residents can take to protect their investments.

According to Colorado Tree Farm Nursery’s owner, Levi Heidrich, last weekend sales were near record highs.  He said the warm temperatures gave buyers “spring fever,” and a desire to work in their yards.

Heidrich said, it comes as no surprise that temperatures are forecast to plunge on Wednesday.

“It’s Colorado, which means that we’re probably going to have another hard freeze,” he said.

After a freeze, like Colorado is expecting on Wednesday, the leave and flowers will turn black and may become crispy.  Heidrich explained that this is a normal reaction to freezing temperatures.

“I always tell people, it’s like sticking a big, juicy steak in the freezer without a freezer bag.  Basically, essentially, it’ll dry out the plant,” said Heidrich.

Most likely, the leaf or bud will fall off the plant.  However, the tree is not dead.  The leaves will grow back after several days.

Heidrich said if residents are concerned about their plants and shrubs, they can place a Tupperware or sheet over the plant.  He said sheets can become heavy if snow is expected, which can break the plant’s stems, so care needs to be exercised when using this method.

Plants can also be misted with water before it freezes.  The water will freeze around the plant, insulating it against the elements.

He said that most plants are tough, will sustain the cold and will most likely grow back.  He said, the most resilient plants are those grown in Colorado.

“They just do better.  They’re used to the climate.  They’re acclimated.  They can tolerate the cold and they stay dormant for longer,” said Heidrich.

Heidrich added potted plants and hanging baskets can be taken inside until the storm passes.  Once the storm has moved out, plants should be given extra water.

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