Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Frost Advisory In Vermont's Champlain Valley

There's a frost advisory tonight in Vermont's Champlain Valley
Most perennials will be fine, but if you put sensitive plants
outdoors too early, you might have problems. 
This is kind of a late post, but if you do read this, there's a frost advisory up for Vermont's Champlain Valley tonight.

This is not a weird situation for early May in Vermont, but it's worth noting.

You probably noticed today was cloudy and chilly, but it cleared up in the evening. That sets the stage for a frost. A clear sky when the temperature starts out cold means it's really easy for temperatures to fall into frost territory.

For most of us, including gardeners, we shouldn't really worry about this too much.

If your early perennials are blooming - things like daffodils, hyancith, forsythia - don't worry about them. They'll be fine. These plants are equipped to handle weather like this at this time of year.

Also, don't worry about the trees that are starting to leaf out. The tender new leaves can survive a couple hours below freezing. They'll be fine, too.

Vermont's apple crop is probably OK, too. The apple trees haven't totally bloomed yet in the Champlain Valley. And even where they have, the chill won't be long lasting or severe enough to cause much damage.

If you left sensitive plants outside to harden up for the spring. I'm talking about things like tomatoes and that kind of thing, definitely deal with this.  If you're reading this Wednesday evening, bring them in NOW. Right this minute.  If not, they'll probably die.

If you were foolish enough to plant sensitive plants in your garden like tomatoes in a way you can't bring them inside, you're screwed. Most people didn't do this. Don't put stuff like this in your garden until Memorial Day.

If you jumped the gun, encouraged by a couple warm days in April, those sensitive plants will probably die You can try covering them up, but they might or might not survive.

You'll notice the frost advisory is only in effect for the Champlain Valley. The National Weather Service only issue frost advisories in areas where the growing season has begun.

Right now is about the time where we typically get the last frost of the season in the Champlain Valley. Hence the advisory for tonight.

Away from the Champlain Valley, the typical first frost of the season comes later. The growing season  hasn't started yet. So, they haven't started issuing frost advisories or warnings yet. But the rules of thumb I outlined above still apply.

One more note: We are about to enter a long spell of cool, damp, cloudy weather. Outdoor plants won't grow or thrive much under these conditions. So if your outdoor plants don't seem to be doing well, relax.

Any frost we get tonight probably won't hurt them. The plants won't do much while it's cloudy and cool, but they'll survive. When the weather eventually turns sunny and warmer, they'll  be fine.  Just be patient, and they'll spring back to life once we get some warm spring weather

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