Late spring still the safer bet in outdoor planting

A once mild spring takes a turn to a temperature roller coaster, colder periods to put outdoor plants in danger.
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - ‘April showers bring May flowers’ is a common theme for spring, but in the U.P. it can be too early to tell.

A warmer-than-usual April fools no one.

“We got beautiful weather (Friday) but as we all know, it can turn. We can have snow tomorrow,” said Nagelkirk Gardens Greenhouse Manager Fred Hahn.

“We got spoiled early from the latter part of March, early April. It was mild, well above normal. But then things reverted back to a more, typical April weather that we see where it’s mild one day, cold the next,” said National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Matthew Zika.

And all it takes us one subfreezing night to cause enough damage to your crops -- and another trip to the nursery.

From cauliflower, tomato, and broccoli -- those plants are known to survive cooler climates.

But Hahn, the National Weather Service and local farmers would be the first to remind to wait until the end of May before planting most crops outside.

Nagelkirk Gardens staff said there’s been more customers getting plants early this season -- demand high and the pandemic still causing short supply.

So they encourage that customers take utmost care for their plants.

“Some perennials or nursery items that’ve already been kept outside, they’re already acclimated to the weather -- that’s fine. But for the most part with your flowers and bedding plants, I would bring the plants inside and put them next to a bright window. It’s simply all you need to do to make sure they’re taken care of,” explained Hahn.

And Meteorologist Zika reminds to keep a close eye on the weather when things start to ‘green up.’

“Once we get probably to the middle or latter part of May, we will begin our frost-freeze season at the weather office where we’ll put notices out like frost advisories and freeze warnings if they’re warranted,” Zika said.

Because impatience in gardening can possibly lead to a frosty green thumb.

Find the National Weather Service’s plant protection tips HERE.

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