Tip of the Week - Watch for Late Spring Frosts & Freezes
Don't be fooled into thinking that cold weather is over!
It's the first week of April and the recent warm days and the prediction of temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's over the coming weekend can lure you into a false sense of security that there will be no more cold weather coming. Don't believe it! April is only just beginning and it can be a time of wildly fluctuating temperatures. In the Shenandoah Valley, our last frost-free date is sometime in mid-May!
- Early April is still to early to plant dahlias, gladiolus, and other summer flowering bulbs in the garden. Dormant bulbs with no top growth can be planted in mid-April. If you have started summer flowering bulbs indoors in pots and they have top growth, you must wait until after the danger of frost to put them outside.
- Don't be tempted to go out on these nice warm early spring days and buy a bunch of annuals for your hanging baskets and outdoor containers unless you are able to bring them inside or cover them well during cold weather. Many are grown in warmer climates or in hot greenhouses and may not be hardened off at all. They can be knocked back by cold temperatures that aren't even near freezing. Wait until the danger of cold weather is past.
- It's WAY to early to put out tomato plants in the garden. Wait until after your last frost-free date to put them out. Be sure they are hardened off. As I mentioned above, even just cold air temperatures can set them back and stunt their growth.
- These warm temperatures will fool many perennials into early growth. This tender new foliage will be susceptible to cold damage. Be prepared to cover them if temperatures go below freezing.
- Read more about late spring frosts and freezes.