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Protecting flowers, plants from the late season cold snap

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Posted at 12:42 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 13:42:39-04

The merry month of May usually brings beautiful spring flowers and warmer weather but the recent cold snap could hurt those azaleas and roses.

Jeff Hershberger is a landscape architect with David J. Frank, one of the largest landscape contractors in the nation, headquartered in Germantown.

Working in Wisconsin, Jeff has seen it all when it comes to the weather.

“Mother’s Day can be a tough one because it can be 70 degrees on one Mother’s Day and then the next it could be 30s,” said Hershberger.

Cooler temperatures can bring uncertainty for the life of flowers and plants and according to Hershberger. “The roses seem to be one hardest hit so far.”

From his decades of experience, Hershberger believes that southeast Wisconsin is behind 2 to 3 weeks from seeing the beautiful blooms this season because of some of the impacts of last year rainfall.

“We received a tremendous amount of rainfall, probably about a foot above average last year,” said Hershberger. He is expecting to see root rot or fungal damage to plants due to the excessive rain.

Many flowers are just starting to break bud right now but there are ways for you to save or protect them even if you can’t bring them inside.

“The best thing to do on those is to cut them way back and fertilize them and see what comes back,” said Hershberger.

He recommends being patient and not trying to get all those colorful blooms at one time. Hershberger suggests planning on have a progression of color through out the whole season- from late spring to summer and summer to fall.

If we do get a late season freeze or frost in the area, he recommends continuing to make sure plants and flowers get plenty of water to help insulate them from a freeze. One final tip is to cover your perennials with blankets instead of plastic to protect them from the cooler nights ahead.

“Even if it’s a couple of degrees it might make a difference,” said Hershberger.

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