Mixed Weather Offers Test for Local Gardeners


Weather so far this spring has been a bit of a rollercoaster in Northern Indiana, presenting a bit of a challenge to area plant enthusiasts.

Warmer temperatures in March, and a wintry mix predicted this week are prompting a few recommendations from Purdue Extension Agricultural Educator Phil Woolery. He says the more a plant has developed, the more likely it is to be affected by colder temperatures.

For starters, he says early spring flowers can be quite sensitive.

“Even having a sheet over your plants, that will help hold in some heat and keep the frost off,” says Woolery. “One other option is apply water – which I don’t really recommend unless you’re in a commercial orchard and you have the equipment necessary.”

Lately, temperatures have been considered quite chilly, putting additional pressure on early spring plant life. Compared with unseasonably warm temperatures in March, some plants may have been spurred into growth unfit for the current cold streak seen across the area.

Woolery, who has previously worked at a tree nursery, says recently planted trees should be able to recover from the cold a bit better than flowers. Burned edges around the leaves may be seen, but should recover. Specific trees, such as apple trees have not been reported as blooming in Northern Indiana, and should be unaffected.

Flowers aren’t the only plants with the potential to be obscured this year. Area farmers with winter wheat in the ground may want to keep an eye on its growth, according to Woolery.

“Wouldn’t worry too much about the cover crops,” says Woolery. “They might have a little damage, but the ones that are still alive right now, they’re adapted to the cold and the farmers are going to want to remove those anyway. So they’re not worried about that.”

Winter wheat is typically only affected once temperatures near the single digits. That’s still a far cry from temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s being reported in the area.

Chilly temperatures are anticipated to remain in the 30’s through next week.