Winter Storm Could Wreck Your Garden

Friday, March 27th 2009, 4:54 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Winter takes one last hurrah just as spring arrives.  Before the snow starts to fall, you'll want to take precautions to keep your plants from being damaged by the storm.  

There are a few steps you can take to keep your plants from wilting in the weather. And, they are relatively inexpensive.

"It's almost like all that work and one night ruins it all," said gardener Kristina Bell.

After a spring storm last year, Kristina Bell learned a lesson about gardening.

"We thought if we bundled them all real close together and kept them out of the winter.  No everything froze, everything withered away," said gardener Kristina Bell.

This time around, she is making sure her plants survive.

"Everything's come into the laundry room," said gardener Kristina Bell.

Wishful thinking that early spring weather will stick around may mean doom for your plants if Mother Nature has other plans in mind.

"You can almost bet a week or so before Easter that you're going to get a situation like this," said Stephen Smith with Southwood Landscape and Nursery.

To protect your flowers and vegetables cover them up. Tarps are recommended. Blankets are not. Turn empty milk jugs or boxes over the tops. Even old leaves can offer some insulation.

"And, it's a cheap way to cover up your plants just pile them 4, 5, 6 inches up over your plants for a day or so and you can rake them back off and hopefully this will be the last instance," said Stephen Smith with Southwood Landscape and Nursery.

Smaller plants are easier to save, but the redbuds, dogwoods, and flowering pears must weather the weather on their own.

"Not necessarily gonna kill the tree. It might set it back for a few weeks, but they'll recover. That's just gardening in Oklahoma," said Stephen Smith with Southwood Landscape and Nursery.

"If you don't get them in before the first freeze like tonight. You're going to lose them all," said gardener Kristina Bell.

Worst case scenario, if you don't protect your plants, they will wilt and die. Tomatoes are very sensitive to the cold.  Exposed flowers will turn black, but you may be able to pinch off the buds, prune it back and if the plants are in good shape, they will reflower.