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Growers Prepare For Predicted Frost

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Phipps Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show – safe inside its glass palace – is frost and freeze proof.

“We are getting a lot of calls about tonight,” Randy Soergel said.

He and his family have been battling the elements for more than 150 years at its nurseries and orchards.

“It scares us, but you take your bumps in farming and move on,” he said.

The unusually warm spring has forced trees and perennials into full bloom, so the predicted cold snap with temps dipping below freezing could be a disaster for new growth.

“Depends on how cold it really gets, whether we’re gonna have a frost or a freeze,” Soergel said.

Pansies or perennials grown from bulbs are fairly hardy, but the flowering trees and shrubs are at risk.

“Any of those azaleas or rhododendrons or anything like that you’re going to damage the flower but you’re not going to kill the plant,” Soergel said.

Annuals and veggies already in the ground need protection.

“Those will freeze definitely,” he said.

And aside from tarps at Soergel’s, they’ll be driving tractors and trucks through the apple orchards all night.

“What we’re going to hopefully do is take our sprayers and try to move air and if we can keep the air movement, then it means that the frost can’t settle,” Soergel said.

At home you should bring all potted plants inside, but keep them in a cool spot.

Cover all flowers, buds and leaves with cardboard boxes, sheeting, burlap or newspapers. Weigh down the ends.

And do not remove coverings until the frost completely disappears.

If those sub-zero temperatures come in about 10 p.m., that is the worst case scenario. If they wait until 6 a.m. Tuesday, we may get lucky.

And if you have daffodils, hyacinths or tulips in your yard, cut them off and bring them inside. Put them in a vase and enjoy them.

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