We're nearing the end of March and we've been so fortunate to have a taste of warm, sunny days over the past few weeks! Our last frost date here in Zone 7 is April 15th, which means we are currently at the mercy of potential cold snaps until then. We always recommend waiting until Mother's Day before planting, as longtime gardeners will know - Mother Nature can be fickle during this time of year and she often reminds us not to plant too early 😉
Our forecast (as of Friday March 25th) is calling for freezing overnight temperatures:
- Sunday night (March 27th)
- Monday night (March 28th)
- Tuesday night (March 29th)
This upcoming cold snap is calling for temperatures dropping into the 20s! This is considered a 'hard freeze' that may damage sensitive plants. What does this mean for your garden?
A hard freeze may damage emerging buds & foliage on established perennials, but the plants overall will survive. You may notice frozen foliage turning white after the plant thaws out and they may look a bit raggedy - but don't worry! They will push out new growth & flowers as the temperatures gradually rise over the coming weeks.
If you have newly planted perennials, you may want to be cautious and cover them. You can wrap trees or shrubs in a sheet, burlap, overturned pots - anything that is breathable. We don't recommend wrapping plants in plastic as condensation can build up on the inside and freeze. If you decide to go with plastic, make sure you have a cloth barrier in between.
If you were excited about early spring annuals & have them planted in containers or window boxes, we recommend bringing these inside a shelter like a garage or shed to protect them from the freezing elements. If you've already planted annuals in the ground, you'll definitely want to cover them. The exception to this would be hardier plants like pansies and cool-weather veggies. Pansy flowers may drop after a hard frost, but the plant itself should be okay!
TLDR; if you have planted annuals already - you better bring them inside or cover them! Exceptions to this are: pansies and cool weather veggies. New buds on flowering perennials, trees, & shrubs may suffer, but your plants will survive - they will drop the unsightly foliage and push out new growth as the weather warms up. You can definitely cover these if you wish. Cover with sheets, burlap, overturned pots, or any breathable fabric (no direct plastic). Cross your fingers and hope for warmer weather soon!!