Tips for home gardeners who lost flowers and plants in late May.
The cold snap has spelled disaster for people with larger gardens, farms and orchards.
On a smaller scale, many home gardeners who planted potted plants in gardens and raised beds, or whose fruit trees had just flowered, also lost them to frost.
Some mountainous areas were not exposed to frost, while the valley floors, where cold air settles, caused severe damage to plants and trees.
There were even some accidents or mistakes in the same garden, where some plants, tree trunks and lower branches were hit by frost but others were left untouched.
Add to that the flowers and leaves of vigorous kiwis, grapes, hydrangeas and the like that bloomed much sooner than usual from the warm temperatures of early spring. These plants were more susceptible to frost.
Q: We had a severe frost at my site: 24 degrees! My Asiatic lilies are looking pretty bad now. Will these lilies recover for the season or will they never bloom this year? – Celeste, via email
A: As long as the growing point in the center of the Asiatic lily survives the frost, it will continue to grow.
Q: What happens to trees and their leaves when they experience a severe frost in May, as we just did? -Robert, via email
For woody plants, as long as the stem and trunk remain and the plant is healthy, it should continue to grow.
Other trees whose leaves have blackened and been damaged by late frosts should put their leaves back.
If it is early enough in the season, most trees can regrow new leaves, similar to last year when sponge moth larvae ate the leaves and most trees sprouted new leaves.
For fruit trees, strawberries and raspberries, if the plants have wide-open flowers, note the center of the flowers where the fruit will be placed.
If the centers are black, the plant has been damaged by frost and will not bear fruit this year.
If you have fruit trees such as apples, pears and cherries in your garden and they have already flowered and set fruit, they should be fine and continue to produce fruit.
If your vegetable grower and seedlings do not appreciate the 20 degree temperature, their leaves may turn brown or black and the leaves curl. This means they are probably finished for them.
The positive news is that it is still relatively early in the planting season. If you are able, you may want to start over.
Q: In the fall of 2020, I planted 30 daffodil bulbs. They all flowered in 2021. In 2022, they all showed up but only five flowered. This year, it looks the same: all the leaves are up but only three flowers. Any suggestions? – Jane, in Waitsfield
A: After the tulip leaves turn yellow, dig up the bulbs and take a good look at them. If it is soft and moldy, the soil is not well-draining and you may want to move it elsewhere.
More tulip bulb knowledge from All Things Gardening: If your tulips and daffodils aren’t blooming, try some forensics to find out why
If the bulbs are too small they may lack nutrition or sunlight. So again, moving them to a sunnier location with well-drained soil and fertilizing them in the fall will help them bloom better next spring.
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