Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

January 29, 2014

Plants could sustain cold weather injury

The first full week of January brought with it weather that central Indiana hadn't experienced in nearly 20 years.

Temperatures on Jan. 6 and 7 fell to around minus 15 degrees in both Lafayette and Indianapolis and were likely a few degrees colder in rural areas. Temperatures remained below zero for nearly a day and a half; 34 hours in Indianapolis and 35 hours in Lafayette.

How did these temperatures affect horticultural plants?

It will be hard to tell exactly what degree of damage will have occurred until plants green up in the spring. The good news is that plants were dormant during this period. The even better news is this very cold weather didn't follow a warm spell.

The heavy snowfall we received prior to the cold weather provided substantial protection to lower-profile plants including many in the landscape. Trees and shrubs considered hardy for Central Indiana (USDA Hardiness Zone 5b) should be able to survive, though they may suffer some damage, particularly to twigs, flower buds, and the end of branches.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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