Cold weather this weekend could mean trouble for some plantsCold weather is looking to make a comeback this weekend. Meteorologists are predicting a hard freeze Monday night into Tuesday morning that would be cold enough to damage plants.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Cold weather is looking to make a comeback this weekend.
Meteorologists are predicting a hard freeze Monday night into Tuesday morning that would be cold enough to damage plants.
“Early cherries, plums or apricots could be damaged,” said Ron Smith, horticulturist for the North Dakota State University Extension Service. “The stigma of the flower could freeze, which would result in spotty or no fruit production.”
Smith said these fruit are the earliest to bloom and the most vulnerable. Apple blossoms commonly haven’t opened yet and would not be as susceptible to damage from frost.
“The buds are swelling on the lilacs and apples,” he said. “It shouldn’t hurt those plants too much. They could be hurt if it is cold enough to form hoar frost on the buds.”
Meteorologists commonly define a hard freeze as temperatures below 28 degrees for several hours.
“We are looking at about 25 degrees for a low Monday night,” said Todd Hamilton, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck. “We could see a good six hours at 28 degrees or below.”
Hamilton said the outlook for precipitation is low in the Jamestown area from the weekend weather system although the western and northwestern part of North Dakota could see rain and snow accumulations.
“The weekend will be quite a bit colder than what we are used to,” he said. “Cold and windy will make things unpleasant even without the rain or snow.”
The forecasted daytime highs of 50 on Saturday and 44 on Sunday are at or below the average highs for early April of 50 degrees. The normal low for this time of year is 27 degrees.
Smith suggests covering any annual or perennial garden plants that have emerged already. He also suggests spraying water on the ground under any blooming fruit tree that may be susceptible to freeze damage.
“That increases the humidity that can modulate the temperature,” he said.
Today marks the start of the gardening season for some gardeners.
“Good Friday is the traditional day to plant potatoes,” he said. “Gardeners could also be putting in cold hardy vegetables like radishes and lettuce.”
But early planting always has risk.
“Cold weather in the spring is not an uncommon thing,” Smith said. “Don’t count on anything when it comes to the weather in North Dakota.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com