Caring for plants during a cold spell and beyond - Tucson News Now

Caring for plants during a cold spell and beyond

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Tucson area will be experiencing near-freezing temperatures Tuesday night, and experts are warning people to cover up their plants to protect them from frost.  If your vegetation survives the cold, KOLD News 13 has a couple tips to keep plants healthy.

"That was a vine.  That actually was a pretty big vine," says homeowner Dave Callahan as he points out a dead stem in his back yard.  The cold has not been kind to his plants this season. 

But he admits he could have done more to protect them.

"We covered the top of it [the vine] but not the bottom and it ended up dying."

Dave now plans to cover up what's left, a few rose bushes that have managed to hang on.

Matt Smit with the Silverbell Nursery says customers who have planted new vegetables might also see their garden beds go barren.  Low temperatures can destroy sensitive young plants and new citrus buds.

"If we do dip a little colder you will lose all of your flowers which means no fruit," says Smit.

Covers are key to locking in heat.  Pruned plants are prone to freeze, but if you've resisted the temptation to trim, Smit says wait a few more weeks and then look for new growth.

"Kind of use it as a gauge as where those new leaves stop coming out that's where you need to prune back."

After a freeze, you can use a few simple steps to test your vegetation for signs of life.

"The first couple things is how pliable it is, if it can bend, and the other thing is take your thumb nail and knick it," says Smit.

If you see green under the surface, that's a good sign.

It's always important to plan ahead with plants.  Dave says he'll consult the experts for his next flower bed.

"We do have a couple plans to plant some things, but we haven't really decided what's going to go in there."

Silverbell Nursery recommends waiting until March 15th before you do any new planting or pruning to get past any future cold spells.


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