Tonganoxie Just when you thought winter was gone, it’s appeared again.
The return of cold weather is no fun for humans, but it could be even more devastating for vegetation.
With the recent warmer weather, spring has sprung for many trees and flowers.
According to Mike Epler, an area agriculture agent with Kansas State University Research and Extension, the heavy snow that’s forecast for the area isn’t necessarily a bad thing for plants and trees.
It’s how far the temperature drops that is the issue.
Epler said if the temperature drops to 28 degrees, there would likely be a 10 percent loss of blooms on ornamental and fruit trees.
If the temperature drops to 25 degrees, that loss jumps to 90 percent.
For ornamental trees, any loss of blooms simply would be an aesthetic loss, Epler said. The tree would eventually leaf out and would bloom again next spring.
For fruit trees, a small loss wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, Epler said.
“Ten percent loss is actually a good thing from a fruit production standpoint,” Epler said. “It’s nature thinning your fruit a little bit.”
The 25 degree temperatures, however, would mean fruit would be lost for the season, as was the case two years ago when late winter weather zapped area orchards.
Any flowers that are blooming shouldn’t be in danger unless temperatures dip to the lower 20s and even temperatures in the teens “wouldn’t kill them,” Epler said. “Pansies probably wouldn’t be hurt at all.”
Pedals might turn brown, but the flowers still would be all right, the extension agent said.
Any cool season vegetables that gardeners may have already planted, such as radishes, peas, or broccoli, should be in good shape if temperatures don’t dip below 25 degrees.
“The bright side is it may not get as cold as they say,” Epler said.
Heavy snow could actually serve as protection for flowers and vegetables if the temperature drops, Epler said.