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Cold Weather Takes Toll On Plants

By Mallory Cooke
By mcooke@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn.--More below freezing temperatures are headed to West Tennessee. The cold weather could take a toll on some plants.

“Every year we prepare for a hard winter,” said James Wick, the nursery manager at Morris Nursery and Landscapes, Inc.

Last week’s single digit temperatures affected some plants. “We are seeing some foliar burn on some of the hollies and some of the Indian hawthorns,” said Wick.

Wick says they saw minimal plant damage. “If we went a week or so with that same temperature, we would have severe damage,” he said.

Experts say most plants grown in West Tennessee adapt to the environment and can handle the cold, but tropical plants could be at risk.

“Now when we go from 65 to 0 in a few days, the plants are not really ready for that and it does hurt some things that even might be typically hearty,” said Jason Reeves, a research horticulturist at the UT Gardens in Jackson.

Reeves says wait until spring to determine if your plants survived the arctic blast. “It may not come back out from the stems, but it may come from the ground so be patient,” he said. “Even if the foliage looks bad on an evergreen, there's still a chance it could survive.”

When the temperatures drop below freezing, experts recommend adding an extra layer of mulch around your plants. “Really helps protect the root zone especially,” said Reeves.

Wick moves some plants inside. “We were prepared,” he said.

Experts say well established plants rooted in the soil well will adapt to the cold much better than ones just recently planted.