Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004

Cold streak slows spring, planting a bit

April 1, 2004

This week's minor cold snap has slowed a full arrival of spring, but it sure hasn't stopped it. It does bring to mind long-standing advice to temper spring fever planting because, well, this is Kansas.

"Hold on, hold on, wait a little longer," said Christy Carlisle, well-know Baldwin City gardening expert.

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While Tuesday night's freeze didn't cause as many problems as expected, it should have served as a strong warning as to why gardeners should hold off on planting anything but cold-tolerant crops for awhile. Carlisle offered a "safe" date to shoot for regarding plants that could be adversely affected by freezing temperatures.

"April 15 you pay your taxes and you plant. Maybe not in that order. No, you probably should pay your taxes first," she said. "We're still in Kansas, there's still a chance for frost. I'm prepared to cover everything in my yard with sheets if I have to."

As for the Tuesday night low that dipped below freezing, leaving frost and even ice, especially in out-lying areas, it could have been worse, she said.

"It wasn't as bad Tuesday night as they thought it was going to be. It wasn't a hard freeze," said Carlisle.

There was another possibility of a freeze Wednesday night, but that should be it for awhile, according to most forecasters.

While some plants can be covered, the massive amount of fruit and other flowering trees that have taken off lately are impossible to cover. Although it didn't do them any favors, it wasn't anything fatal.

"It won't kill them," she said of the flowers on trees, "it could just deform the fruit."

For those real concerned about the freeze and the trees, Carlisle said there was one way to hold the cold at bay.

"With fruit trees, the best thing you can do is run a sprinkler," she said.

While plants and trees can be affected by the cold, another early spring riser that's not bothered at all is grass. Mowers have already been at it and that won't stop.

"Grass will be fine," she said. "It's tempered. It's used to being out there."

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