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As Frost Arrives, It’s Time To Protect Your Plants

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(credit: CBS) Lauren Casey
Lauren Casey joined the WCCO-TV weather team in August 2011, a...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After a weekend of 80-degree temperatures, it’s hard to believe that Minnesotans may see frost on Tuesday morning.

Frost advisories are in effect with lows in the 30s likely across southern Minnesota. This threat of frost will have us bundling up our buds some three weeks ahead of schedule.

The average first frost date in the Twin Cities is October 7, but tonight a crystally white covering may appear in parts of the Metro.

Scott Endres of Tangletown Gardens says tropical plants are most at risk.

“All the things that love, love, love our hot summers in the tropical plant world are much more vulnerable,” Endres said.

Temperatures less than 40 degrees will send a shiver down the stems of plants like coleus, elephant ears, dahlias, and impatiens.

Scott advises to protect these plants, bring them inside. Be sure not to stun your mums!

“Think about an easier transition. You know, it’s shocking for any of us to go in an environment that is 40 degrees and then all of a sudden you have this 70 degree temperature,” he said.

Frost is not the only threat; the current drought can jeopardize the future health of vegetation. Scott says the stress can increase the likelihood of winter injury.

“Whether it’s going to freeze tonight or not, keep your plants really well-watered going into the winter. And that’s going to be one of the best defense mechanisms against that winter injury,” he said.

And to extend the life of your plants this fall season, Scott suggests using a bed sheet.

“If you can extend your season by tossing a bed sheet over a beautiful container that you worked so hard to achieve all summer long, why not? It’s worth a risk of a little spin cycle in the washing machine afterwards,” he said.

Scott says that even when brought indoors, some plants still may not survive.

And though you may have more sentimental attachment to that beautiful tropical than the old tomato plant, it’s ok to send either to the compost pile and start fresh in the spring.

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