Late May Frost Puts Plants in Danger

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CLEVELAND — Many Northeast Ohioans thought spring weather was here to stay, and many people have already planted flowers and gardens.

But Friday’s frigid weather has the potential to destroy many plants.

“I think the frost-free date is around the 18th, so, or the 15th, so usually right around that date we’re in the clear typically, this is really abnormal,” said A.J. Petitti, with Petitti Garden Centers.

He says many people have already planted flowers, fruits and vegetables for the spring, and that this late May frost and freeze have the potential to kill them.

Petitti says plants that bear fruits or vegetables are the most at risk.

“If you’ve got any kind of basil for sure, you want to protect.  Peppers are something that’s very susceptible, melons, on the veggie side,” Petitti said.

“I think last year was a good year, this is really a surprise that the weather turned to be cold at this time,” said Velvet Colvinfarmer.

Colvinfarmer was buying begonias.  She’s glad she waited to purchase and plant them.

“I’m really hesitant tonight putting them in, but tomorrow might be OK, where I can plant them and put them in the ground, so I’m looking at tomorrow and Sunday and possibly Monday,” she said.

“Right about now is when we plant our vegetables,” said Chris Karas.

Other homeowners we ran into say they are glad they waited.

“I’m really surprised because we had all that nice weather last week and now for the weekend, it’s really chilly,” said Charlene Tintelnot.

Petitti says annuals, such as geraniums and petunias, do well in the cold and should be fine.

He says a spray product called Freeze Pruf should give plants a 5 to 8 degree buffer.

He also says covering vegetation with a pillowcase or bed sheet should protect them.

“This is actually a frost cloth, you want something that’s breathable, you can kind of see it’s a little translucent, you want to make sure that you do not use plastic, so if you’ve got garbage bags, stuff like that, do not use it, it will burn whatever you put underneath, it, it’ll just fry,” Petitti said.

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