Mother Nature always has a way of reminding us who really rules the house, and this week she did it again. The good news is that this week’s freeze didn’t do as much damage as it could have. If you’ve ever wondered why you have to add salt to the ice cream maker, this week’s weather gave us the perfect example - pure water doesn’t freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When water coats the flowers and leaves like it did this week, it can actually prevent more damage to plants. This short-term pure water coating is more effective in plant protection than covers that may allow the air inside to stay colder longer.
- Continue Watering – Work water deep into the soil. Most of Missouri saw less than an inch of rain and there continues to be a deficit of moisture in the soil.
- Weed While It Is Wet – Pull weeds while the soil is moist. It will make it easier to get the root out.
- Start Moving Plants – Introduce both tropical and house plants to the outdoors so they don’t burn in the summer heat. Take them outside, hose down foliage and water them well so the pores will open up. If you do this now, the plants can warm up with the weather and not get sunburned by the extra heat and light. Pro tip: keep these plants close to the door. You may need to move them inside if there is a chance for frost. Most of Missouri’s frost-free dates are April 21-May 1.
- Spring Pruning – Prune early blooming trees and shrubs, like lilacs and azaleas. Touching them up as the blooms fall off will allow them to set the most buds for next year.
- Don’t Plant Too Fast – Wait to plant your tomatoes, most annuals and other heat-loving plants. You can buy them now if you are concerned about getting the varieties you want, but it is best to wait for planting until you can see there is no frost in the forecast through May 1st. Just remember, if you buy them early, you have to check them for water every day.