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Cold Snap Could Harm Potted Plants And Fruits

Peaches won't grow if peach trees are damaged

If you already planted tomatoes in your garden, the cold snap experienced on Tuesday morning could have hurt them. Indeed, the cold weather experienced in the region these days could negatively impact vegetation.

At this time of the year, with the warmer temperatures and longer days, we expect things to grow. When temperatures drop below freezing, certain types of fruits, vegetables and potted plants can suffer.

Temperature dropped to 31 degrees in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday morning. Even if this lasted only for a few hours, that can be enough to damage a lot of sensitive plants, according to Kevin Smith, meteorologist and forecaster at the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

The next couple of days are also going to be reaching freezing temperatures and people should prepare to protect their plants.

“At least for the next couple of nights, they just need to cover or tent their vegetation or potted plants, it will protect them from the cold,” said Smith.

Horticultural plants are a little more sensitive than others but there are ways to protect them, like outdoor cloth or covers that will help keep the vegetation from freezing.

Agriculture Department Chair at Southeast Missouri State University Michael Aide said that if the temperatures start getting below 30 we will see a greater degree of damage across the region.

“It did rain a few days ago and that water was coming in at about 40 degrees and that actually held enough heat that will probably protect quite a few plants. But that cold air can drop especially if it’s a crystal clear night and if we get down to 28 I think you’ll see some damage around the region for very susceptible plants,” said Aide.

Normally, farmers would have already planted their corn, rice and other crops by this time of year. But this spring, for the most part, farmers are still waiting and preparing their land, Aide said. The rain is actually their biggest problem because it has kept them out of their fields.

“If they keep recurring we are going to get delayed in our planting dates,” explained Aide.

Fruit trees, like peach trees, are in danger after they flower. If those flowers are damaged, there will be no fruit this year from that tree.

This spring has been a little bit colder than normal so far, and the next few days still have the potential to drop close to the freezing point.

Marine Perot was a KRCU reporter for KRCU in 2014.