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Preparing for the First Freeze

Tools

By Brandon Redmond

The unseasonably warm temperatures the past several weeks have some experts concerned as our first freeze looms. "A cold snap like this without a precursor of gradual cooling, the SAP is still up in the trees and the shrubs and the leaves are just start to turn colors, they're not there yet so the plants are not dormant yet," said Dave Kiesig, Horticulture Professor at CSI.

Most of the damage caused by early freezes happens to the tops of plants and the foliage. But the freeze isn’t all bad. "Actually colder temperatures could help the sugar set better in the beats, so that's going to be a plus for the sugar beet producers. It won't hurt the spuds and other underground tumors,” said Kiesig.

Tonight's freeze likely won't impact crops across the area. The freeze could have long lasting impacts on plants and vegetations especially as we head into next spring. The expected hard freeze will shut down the photosynthesis and food production process in flowers and vegetation before they are ready. Extra care will likely be necessary come next spring to ensure your plants are healthy.

"You will have to fertilize really good with a good fertilizer. We recommend a granular with time release properties and with micronutrients for the winter because the roots will still feed and that's going to be really the only ace up your sleeve," said Kiesig.

Fertilizing plants will help prevent them from being lethargic come the spring.


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