Hard Freeze Warning

My life in appalachia freeze warning

A hard freeze warning has been issued, for the following 2 nights, for much of the South. This means my…hostas will turn to mush, my ornamental Dogwood’s blooms will turn black, my Bleeding Hearts will shrivel up to nothing, and my Peonies will fall over in a dead faint.

In my area it’s hard to tell when the last killing frost will occur. Some years-like this year-we have too many days of warmer than average temps which results in plants being farther along in their growing season than they should be.

In the Spring of 2007 Western NC had a sever hard freeze in April-some of the agriculture crop was declared a federal disaster. That year, I had 2 blueberries on my bushes at harvest time.

To prevent the freeze from killing everything, I try to cover up as much as I can. My Hostas are to numerous to attempt covering-and I know they’ll come back out once warm weather returns.

I cover my Lilies, Peonies, and the thing I love the most-my Blueberries.

I use buckets or containers to cover the flowers-and sheets for the Blueberries.

I ask Pap if his parents did anything to protect their tender plants when a hard freeze was expected. He said in most instances-they just replanted what was killed. He said-folks where usually careful not to plant warm weather crops until after May 1. Pap said the killing frosts of his youth hurt folks-cause it hurt the animals. Those killing frosts lay claim to natures bounty-acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts-in other words the mast of the forest. In those days-folks depended on nature’s offerings to help feed thier livestock and to feed the game that would be harvested for the kitchen table.

What about you-do you have to worry about late freezes in your area? If so-what do you do to lessen the damage they inflict?


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    April 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    According to our superintendent, this was the coldest Winter in Cherokee County since 2001.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I wonder what happened!? Your bleeding hearts amaze me. I think I thought those were a summer flower. The first photo with frost is fabulous!
    Here I plant after May 1, but in a really warm year, I plant around April 24. We rarely have erratic weather. Day-to-night temperatures vary drastically, but not day-to-day. In southern Missouri I always planted on Mother’s Day.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t have to worry about protecting anything here for at least another month. Then I may have to throw a couple of sheets out now and then. I do hate to loose anything and I tend to put my annuals out too early. I hope you didn’t lose too much.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I’m late commenting on your hard freeze . . . I’m wondering how everything made it through. Did your beautiful plants and flowers survive?
    We are further north so not as advanced in our growing season. But we always worry about our fruit trees surviving when we get a late freeze.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2009 at 8:25 am

    We worry about any freeze here. Since we live in Florida and have a long growing season, any freeze can damage crops. The neighbor’s cover everything up with buckets or sheets. I don’t seem to have a green thumb, so I don’t have to worry at all. LOL

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

    My Hostas that were peaking through made it through this cold snap. I couple of years ago we had a big freeze and I covered them–didn’t do any good the wind just uncovered them.
    I’m thinking SPRING!! Enought is this.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I hope your plants are O.K.
    We have had snow in July before.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2009 at 9:19 am

    We had a freeze this week but most things seemed to weather it. We covered a lot of stuff though. I’m worried for the fruit trees. blessings, marlene

  • Reply
    April 8, 2009 at 8:23 am

    I’m in the South too (near Birmingham) and it’s chilly bones!! I’ve brought my plants inside .. don’t have that many. I’d love to have lots of flowers and a big garden. You’re inspiring me.. cheers and happy wednesday! love your music here.. I added some of your titles to my playlist too. love the louvin bros.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I made a brave attempt to cover my azaleas but they are too big and my covers have blown off them.
    The snow was most interesting today here in WNC and we stayed snuggled inside.We watched the finches and other birds at the feeders. If my plants are killed, I’ll be sad, but spring is coming, just delayed a couple of days.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    We read in today’s paper that our low temperature last night broke a record that had been set back in 1931. So much for global warming! 😉
    I can remember my dad spreading blankets over his garden when we got late freezes.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I hope things don’t get so cold. I hope the plants survive.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    April 7, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Don’t have anything that could freeze, except maybe me. 🙂
    Love the information you give about keeping things growing during a hard freeze. Maybe someday when I do have a garden, I’ll have you to thank for all the great tips. xxoo

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    April 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Oh that would be awful to lose such beauties, Tipper! I hope it won’t do much damage, if any at all!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    We were suppose to get to 26 last night. Thank goodness it only got to 32 and I saw no frost early in the morning. We don’t garden so I had no worries there. I did bring in 4 pots of flowers that I had been wintering in the basement. I will wait for another warm streak to set them back out.
    Last night at 42 degrees, as we were doing our evening walk, it sleeted and snowed on us. Of course it melted rapidly.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    April 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Hi, Tipper! Bad news about your weather. I hope the damage is minimal and that you get back to milder days quickly.
    Here in Northern Indiana we can’t rely on consistently warm weather until late May and we typically have snow or some remnants of a snow on the ground from Thanksgiving until Easter. It’s snowing here today.
    We are headed for East Tennessee Friday, banking on some warm, sunny, balmy days. Can’t you find someone to do some kind of an Indian dance to drive Winter off? February’s shadowy groundhog must have been a big feller!
    Well, it’s good for hog-killing, I guess.
    Stay warm!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    We got lucky last night and nothing got hurt, they say it might go down to 28 tonight. My hostas aren’t quite as big as yours, my peony is up and one of my bleeding hearts is in bloom. I might try to cover it up tonight, just in case. We usually have chance of frost until around May 15. I don’t plant anything until then, but I can’t keep the perennials from coming up.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    We’re expecting temps in the 20’s tonight and I saw snow flurries here in NE Georgia today. Gotta love spring in the south!!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Tipper, I have just gone thru our two nites of freeze. I only had two pots to carry in, rosemary and lavender. When I did have a bigger garden, we used to pile old hay pretty thick on everything. My stpdad always had one or two big bales left after winter, he would let me have. When frost was over, I used the hay as mulch and didn’t have weeds to worry with.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    April 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I hope none of your plants freeze, but I enjoyed watching the snow fall. It was beautiful, but out of season. Hopefully, the little flowers will rebound and the plants will survive. Have a Happy Easter!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Last night our peach and pear trees seem to have survived the cold weather, even though we had a few flakes of snow. I am afraid they won’t make it through tonight, though. Typically we don’t even start our garden, nor flowers, until Derby weekend.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I’m not a gardener by any stretch but i do have an azealea *sp bush I couldn’t stand losing last night so i covered it with a blanket, what i could see of it in the dark. i saved all but one branch. my lilac bush is just too huge to cover so we’ll wait and see what happens. Living in Oklahoma comes with very unpredictable weather also.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I remember every year before Easter we always had a cool snap – sometimes it was a cold snap. I hope yours isn’t too severe. Have a great week and try to stay warm. Pappy

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Ugh…I know your pain…everything was in beautiful bloom here and we had snow overnight…ugh

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 11:05 am

    We got all this too. It’s zwful cold here and I don’t like it. I think most of my peonies will be ok, they are still covered with leaves (I don’t clean up leaves until after last frost) But I’m afraid I’ve lost my fruit produce for this year. Happened last year too.
    Hope your plants made it through.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I don’t usually do much about hard frosts. I sometimes cover some of my more tender early blooming plants, but we don’t plant anything new here until the first full moon in May or after the 24th, whichever comes first.
    We have 2 inches of snow and the odd flake is still coming down. Rained and snowed yesterday. Hope your weather is better than ours.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    April 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

    We had temps in the mid forties last night, and expect them to be in the upper forties tonight. It seems colder on kind of the wind. Florida can be temperamental at times.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    April 7, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Sorry Tipper! I hope you don’t loose too much 🙂 I don’t have anything worth covering yet . . . I only plant cold tolerant plants until mid-June, the temps fluctuate too much before then.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    We get some late frosts, most are not to hard on the plants. But sometimes we get ones that effect the apple and cherry crop. Last year I got really sick and couldn’t bring myself to go out and cover my fucshias and geraniums that I had set out for some sun and fell asleep before everyone got back from gathering. Oh well, it didn’t kill them just the new growth.
    I am sorry to hear you are getting a killer for a couple of nights. It is hard on the spirit of us gardeners isn’t it? I like your covers.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    We are supposed to freeze here too. Darn it!
    In 2007 we lost almost all of our pecan crop and the peach farms lost 95% of their crop. I’m hoping old man winter will have mercy on us!
    It’s tough on the folks who make a living from the crop harvest.
    We do the same as you, but I don’t have sheets big enough to cover my pecan trees. *sniff*sniff*

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    April 6, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    We are supposed to get down in the upper 30’s tonight. While it is not a hard freeze, it could damage some of the more tender vegetation. It is rare, but we do occasionally get cold weather like this late in the season. It is very sporadic. It will be 80 again in 2 days with nights back in the 50’s.

  • Reply
    Helen G
    April 6, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I have covered plants with plastic sheeting, sheets, buckets and plastic storage boxes similar to what I see in your picture above. This year the only thing I covered was my cabbage and broccoli plants. The onions and the potatoes that I’ve managed to get planted are root crops and I didn’t worry about them because our ground is already warming. The peonies, daylillies, iris, mums and such just had to manage on their own, but if I’d have felt I had to cover any of those it would have been the peonies.
    The cabbage looks to have made the two bad nights fine, but I think the bunnies have done in the brocolli plants. They look like something has dined on them and I couldn’t see any signs of bugs so I figure it’s the rabbits.
    I hope your plants all made it okay.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    April 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Tipper, I’m the weather woman here above the frost line. I’m beside myself with the threat of a hard freeze. I imagine in my mind a repeat of what happened two years ago on Easter Weekend and I say no, no. Reading your description of what will happen to your hostas made me cry, NO.
    My mountain , not far down the road from you, I’m guessing, is a natural work of art, with red buds in full bloom and a carpet of thrift under their spreading branches, and cherry trees in blossom and red tulips, and my bleeding heart. I keep saying NO. I drove over to Brasstown to the Folk School today to turn in some reports and as I came back to Hayesville, it was snowing but not sticking.
    Everywhere I went folks wanted to talk about it but I told them no, it’s just Dogwood Winter. Frost will hurt some tender new plants but it can’t be a killing freeze. I don’t believe it will happen here above the frost line.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Our last frost is about the end of May. Last year it was Memorial Day weekend. We often lose all the apple blossoms.
    Sorry to read that all your lovely plants will freeze. I really hope you can save some.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    April 6, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Tipper: We up further North know we can get frost until Memorial Day and plant accordingly. The plants know the weather can be fickle. We are expecting 5 to 9 inches of snow. I wait to see, I’m done with snow this year.

  • Reply
    Diane ( Crafty Passions)
    April 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Were still buried under 6-7 feet of snow,I am not terribly worried about frost bite to my plants, they are still deep in the ground ,they say spring has arrived but sadly not for me !!( I live way up North)

  • Leave a Reply