Freezing temperatures could hurt plants
Temperatures are forecasted to be below freezing this weekend and next week which will affect most plants.
"Tender annuals are not going to make it through the cold weather, so go ahead and just say goodbye to those. But, your perennials are just going to go dormant,” Donna Dent, Team Leader and Custom Designer at the Barn Nursery, said.
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Chattanooga has not had its first freeze of the season, but that is likely to change this weekend. Typically, the first freeze occurs on November 7th.
A hard freeze happens when temperatures reach 28 degrees, which usually marks the end of the growing season for farmers. However, Dent says some plants will continue to grow.
"If you've got those late winter gardens started or going, if you had any lingering things from the summer—tomatoes, peppers—they are probably going to bite the dust this weekend. But, your cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, all those good winter things should be tolerant of this,” Dent said.
Additionally, you can still plant this late as long as it is in-between freezes so the ground is thawed when planting.
"You can still do trees and shrubs. You can still do our beautiful pansies and violas and things like that. The winter flowers, they're going to be shining. I've seen them blooming even in the snow," Dent added
If you do have sensitive tropicals, potted plants or citrus outside, go ahead and bring them inside to acclimate to house temperatures before it hits freezing.
"If you wait until you are already at 32, the plant can sometimes 'shock.' Don't fear. It will usually recover. You just don't want to let it get a hard freeze. It will make it look ugly all winter long," Dent explained.
For plants in the ground that cannot be moved, cover them with an official frost blanket or use an old sheet or blanket. Never use plastic which can cause more serious freeze damage.
Another tip to protect your plants is to utilize water.
"It's better to water the soil, not the plant, water the soil. The water will actually act as an insulator. It will keep the root from freezing because the water has to take all that time to freeze," Dent said.
Watering should be done during the day before the freeze. Following this same logic, the rain before this weekend's freezing temperatures will help your plants too because the soil moisture will insulate.