BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. -- Triad growers affirm the unseasonable Spring freeze forecasted through Thursday morning poses a serious threat to flowers and crops, which already are struggling and delayed due to a harsh winter.
A&A Plants owner Rick Apple said, "We are concerned it (the weather) is affecting sales. It's already affecting sales, because normally we're moving material early April, and it's the third week of April, so yeah, we're concerned."
Apple said the past weekend's 80-degree temperatures have incited Triad gardeners to start planting. "People are anxious, people are wanting plants, and we want to see the weather turn warm as much as anybody, because we've got these plants ready to sell, and we need to sell them."
Apple said he advises wishful planters to hold off on planting until temperatures are consistently above 70 degrees during the day and above 50 degrees at night. He said if people have purchased flowers but have not yet planted them, they should bring the flowers inside until temperatures rise.
For people whom already have planted, Apple recommends they cover the plants while cold temperatures remain. "What you want to be careful with is not over watering them these next couple of days. Probably not to water them at all. As it warms up, don't over water them, because these types of temperatures can damage your root systems, and those are things you can't see."
Apple said some flowers, even if frosted over, can be salvaged. He explained the leaves of damaged flowers will eventually turn black and shriveled.
Apple said certain flowers are more capable than others of sustaining brief cooler temperatures. He said hardy flowers are geraniums, petunias, annuals. But, he noted, "There's just not much that's tolerant of 28 to 30 degrees (or below)."
Flowers not able to survive cool temperatures are those with more delicate leaves, like impatiens and begonias.
Several North Carolina farmers have cited the harsh winter and unpredictable spring temperatures as the cause of delayed crops. The North Carolina Strawberry Association recommends strawberry growers cover their crops, especially if temperatures dip to 28 degrees or below.