The Great Outdoors


During the winter months we all look forward to temperatures that climb up to 25* to 35* degrees and consider that a warm spell. But now that spring has arrived, we are shivering even at 50*. This is why when it gets a little chilly we all think we should cover all of our outdoor plants. Actually most of your outdoor plants are perennials during the early weeks of spring and unless the temperatures drop below 25*, there is no reason to worry or to cover them up.

Tulips, hyacinths and daffodils and all of your flowering shrubs and trees and perennials really like it cold. Running out to cover them may be the most damaging thing that you can do. Your protective cover will break the taller flowers and if it rains, then your plants could be smashed due to water build-up. It is usually best to just do nothing unless temperatures threaten to hit 15*.

If you must cover plants, keep a few tips in mind; it’s usually windy until after sundown so be ready but wait until late to cover.

If your flowers are tall, put stakes or sticks all around that are taller to help hold the cover higher for less breakage.

Always uncover early before you go to work. Leaving the cover on all day may cause unnecessary damage.

Remember, those perennials like it cold.

If tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers and squash are of concern, let me just say…”you messed up!” those gardening favorites should never be planted before all danger of frost is over. When is that? Your guess is as good as anyone else’s. Some say after Mother’s Day, some say the 20th of May, and some wait until Memorial Day. All of these dates still come with some risk but of course, the longer you wait, the less the risk. Also your selection of plant materials becomes smaller. It’s all a game-have fun and play safe.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer