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Freeze tonight could damage some blooms

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: March 26, 2012

Just when it seemed summer had made an early entrance, nature is sending a freeze tonight to remind us it's still spring.

That could put an end to some of the seasonal color we've been enjoying. Plants in flower may see their blossoms ruined, particularly more tender plants such as magnolias.

The good news is that we're not expecting a deep, long-lasting freeze that could do significant damage, said Ann McCulloh, curator of plant collections at Cleveland Botanical Garden. The bad news is "there's not a lot that people can do."

Flowers that are still in bud form will probably survive the freeze, she said, but those that are open are likely to be damaged. For smaller plants such as spring-flowering bulbs and dwarf flowering shrubs, covering with a sheet, nonwoven row-cover material or some other lightweight fabric may protect the flowers, she said. She doesn't recommend using plastic.

For most ornamental plants, the worst loss will be to the flowers, but the plants themselves should survive, McCulloh said.

"I don't think it's going to be so very cold that it's going to be a disaster," she said.

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