Experts say the worst may be over for plant lovers who have lost some of their greenery to the recent cold snap.
Wendy Wilber, a horticulture extension agent in Alachua County, says she believes plants, but that have survived thus far will make it to the warmer weather forecast for the end of the week. Still, she’s urging gardeners to turn off automatic irrigation systems for the time being and to take heavy blankets off plants once the deep freeze lifts.
University of Florida soil and water scientist Craig Stanley says some plant losses may stem from people wishing to grow non-native species.
“People tend to want to grow things that don’t normally grow here,” he says. “And a lot of them are maybe a subtropical-type plant. And so if it’s in the ground, then people will try to do things to try to protect it from the cold. Some ornamental plants get hurt when it’s 50 degrees.”
Wilber says the rule of thumb for many species is that damage occurs when they’re subject to temperatures 28 degrees or colder for five hours or more.