More weather woes for plants


Last week I wrote about a few problems the weather has caused for annuals. This week, the unfortunate happened — frost and freezing temperatures.

In the Springfield area we dropped down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday morning and the skies were clear and there was no wind. These are perfect conditions for a freeze and boy did we get it.

Annuals that weren’t protected (and even some that were) had significant damage. Some perennials and new growth on trees and shrubs had a little damage in my landscape as well.

However, since I am so far behind this spring, I hadn’t planted any annual flowers or tender warm-season vegetables and had very little damage.

On the other hand, our research annuals, despite the fact that they were covered and somewhat protected, had freeze damage.

Most of our plants just had leave damage and our volunteers spent the day Monday cutting them back. If we get some warmer weather, these will start to regrow and will be OK in the long run.

I am a little concerned about the long-term forecast (more rain) because of potential for botrytis. These plants that were damaged are in perfect condition for botrytis to occur so keep your eyes open for the signs (fuzzy gray mold on plant tissue).

The worst-case scenario from Monday’s temperatures is that you have to replant. This stinks for sure.

The other challenge with this spring is trying to get plants in the ground. As I write this column, I am waiting for a rain shower to pass so that we can check the soil to see if we can get our research plants in the ground.

Holding them in the greenhouse for much longer will result in straggly leggy plants; they really need to go into the beds.

However, the worst thing we can do is to plant them when the soil is wet.

Working wet soil compacts it and makes it very challenging for roots to grow successfully.

On the other hand, we have planted in soils that are a little too moist and the plants still grew. There is a fine line when it comes to spring planting and soil moisture.

The green industry landscape contractors fight this every year. They know that they shouldn’t plant in wet soil but on the other hand, the job has to be finished. A good contractor knows when not to cross that fine line.

Lawns are still continuing to grow and have entered the “seed formation” stage. Turfgrass goes into seed production in the spring and because grass is growing so fast, seeds show up sometimes before you get a chance to cut.

This is not a problem and is normal. Just keep cutting the grass as usual and the seed production stage will eventually end.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Crews called to serious crash on U.S. 123 in Warren County
Crews called to serious crash on U.S. 123 in Warren County

Crews were called tonight to a report of a car split in half during a crash on U.S. 123. The crash was reported around 10:45 p.m. near Columbine Drive. According to initial reports, a driver struck a tree, causing the car to split, and was trapped in the wreckage. We have a crew on the way and will update this report.
Shoes 4 the Shoeless takes needed supplies to NC hurricane victims
Shoes 4 the Shoeless takes needed supplies to NC hurricane victims

Shoes 4 the Shoeless (S4TS) will be taking over 1,000 pairs of shoes, socks, and other needed supplies to children and their families in need due to Hurricane Florence, according to a release. The goal is to fill three 26-foot trucks with needed items to take to the residents of Pollacksville, North Carolina. Items can be donated on Sept. 27 from 8...
Vandals target Van Buren Park in Kettering
Vandals target Van Buren Park in Kettering

Vandals struck Van Buren Park, and now the Kettering Police Department is asking for the public’s help to catch those responsible. Black spray paint now covers parts of the sign and playground equipment at the park, 1450 Scottsdale Drive. It is believed to have happened sometime between Sept. 20 and 21. Anyone with information is urged to call...
Soaking rain doesn’t stop volunteers, donations for North Carolina
Soaking rain doesn’t stop volunteers, donations for North Carolina

Even as the rain soaked the pavement at Wayne High School on Monday, a group of volunteers stood outside collecting donations. The group from Engage City Church is collecting items that will soon head to North Carolina. “Just trying to do what we can do as a community coming together to help out,” Michael McElroy of Engage City Church said...
Pedestrian hit by car in Dayton not in crosswalk, police say
Pedestrian hit by car in Dayton not in crosswalk, police say

A pedestrian was taken to Miami Valley Hospital tonight with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. Police and medics were called around 9:40 p.m. to the 300 block of Wyoming Street near Alberta Street in Dayton. The man who was struck by a car was not in a crosswalk when he was hit, police said. The driver of the car was not cited,...
More Stories