Plants and Crops Fight Freeze

9 years 5 months 3 weeks ago April 07, 2007 Apr 7, 2007 Saturday, April 07 2007 Saturday, April 07, 2007 9:13:34 PM CDT in News

It may be April but temperatures outside feel like it's January and that has many wondering when this cold snap is going to end. 

At the garden center employees took precaution and covered all of the plants susceptible to cold temperatures like those we have tonight.

They say if you don't cover your plants, they'll look like this, just over here -- very much dead.

Cold temperatures that dipped down to as low as 18-degrees made typically beautiful plants look sickly and dead.

"As you can see, we've got some brown here on the tips, all the leaves are starting to crinkle up, uh, I would imagine it'll probably lose about 75% of these leaved," said Greg Estes with Total Environments Garden Center.

For garden center worker Greg Estes, this cold weather snap brings more than just wilted flowers.

"For us it's created a lot of work. We've uh, had to bring a lot of our plants inside, had to cover up a lot of our plants, as you can see around us, and it's put us back on a lot of the flowering plants a couple of weeks," Estes said.

He says those cold temperatures are more damaging than most people expect.

"For the most part, the leaves that are on there that froze back are gonna turn black, your flowers are gonna fall off, and it's gonna look like a sad sort of little plant," Estes said.

But doing nothing is exactly the problem.

Estes says there are simple ways to save your plants from the biting cold."The best thing you can do is cover them up with old sheets, or put some straw up around them, just basically cover them and try to keep them away, try to keep them away from the... elements as much as possible,"

Another interesting way you can cover your plants is with a thin sheet of ice.- it sounds ridiculous, but workers here say a thin coating of ice will serve as a simple barrier between the incredibly cold air we have tonight and budding leaves.

From flowers to farmers, the cold snap is painting a grim picture for Missouri farmers dependant on an early crop.

While the total effect won't be known for about a week. By some estimates 50- 100% of the entire grape crop could be ruined.

"You can see how it's turning brown and crusty," said Drew Lemberger with Les Bourgeois winery. "That's pretty much a goner. See how brittle it is? All that's just gooey. Normally, that would feel like a normal leaf down there and stuff. But obviously that's frozen and frost damaged."

"From being both winemaker and grape grower, I mean, it's heartbreaking to tell you the truth," said Cory Bomgarr co owner of Les Bourgeois. "We put a lot of energy and effort into choosing our grape varieties. We have product lines that we've worked on for years and been developing. We have customers that are loyal customers on those product lines. So from the winemakers' standpoint we're not going to be able to make these products."

The annual cycle for grape growing has three budding phases.

Wine producers are hopeful the second and third buds won't be effected by the weather.

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