DENVER (KDVR) – As Colorado prepares for a dramatic shift in temperatures, anyone with outdoor plants needs to prepare too.
Over the past week and a half, Coloradans along the front range have likely been putting flowers and vegetables in their gardens and grounds assuming the final frost of the season has come and gone.
“Mother’s Day usually is the rule but in Colorado we never know so sometimes it works sometimes we do get, this is an exceptionally late pending cold snap,” Erin Bird with Denver Botanic Gardens said.
Friday through Sunday, temperatures in the Denver metro area are expected to drop to at or below freezing and some snow is expected with it.
The cold snap could spell disaster for certain plants.
“If we do have any annuals or tender vegetables in the ground, our horticulturists will be busy getting ready for the possible freeze,” Bird said.
Popular annual varieties include petunias, marigolds and geraniums, which are the kind of flowers you plant and then replace with new plants the next season.
“Since those don’t establish quite as deep, they are a lot more fragile,” Bird said.
Tender vegetables include some of the most popular plants in backyard gardens like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash and eggplant. These types of plants are unable to withstand frost.
“The easiest way to protect them is just to put a large bucket over each,” Bird said.
For larger areas, plants can be protected using sheets or blankets. Do not use plastic coverings, as they will make plants colder.
“The key is you just don’t want to have a sheet or a blanket that is directly touching the plant because if there is snow then that weight can snap the branches,” Bird said.
While the predicted weather system may hurt some plants, it has the potential to benefit others that may be growing on your property.
“Perennials and trees and shrubs are usually hardy enough to withstand a late season snow or a little bit of frost,” Bird said. In fact, it may even help them.
“Since Colorado is pretty much always lately in a state of drought, we’ll welcome any form of precipitation that we can get. So it will definitely be a great added benefit to plants you have had in your ground for multiple years. They’ll love that additional moisture and even like the snow and the cold can help insulate and protect a perennial plant so it’s not always a bad thing,” Bird said.
Even rose bushes should be tolerant to the upcoming weather, according to Bird.
“They’ll be totally fine since they haven’t really started putting out buds yet they’ll just hang out and enjoy the drink of water or snow and keep on growing,” Bird said.
Additional moisture may also help homeowners struggling to keep their lawns green and healthy.
“It will help give a boost for your lawn and if you want to put some fertilizer down, it might be a benefit and give it a little growing boost,” Bird said.
While bulb plants like tulips and irises will return next year following a late-season freeze, the flower itself may get zapped.
“If you have some tulips, might as well just cut them off if you want, bring them inside so you can enjoy them inside so they’re not totally wasted if that’s the case,” Bird said.
Full Pinpoint Weather coverage
On TV and online, the Pinpoint Weather Team will keep you updated with the latest forecast for Denver and Colorado. Be sure to download the free Pinpoint Weather App to stay up-to-date with the newest data as it comes in. Stayed tuned to FOX31 and Channel 2 for live team coverage throughout the storm.
- Closings & Delays: Full List
- Interactive Radar
- Delays and cancellations at Denver International Airport
Do you have questions about this late-season winter storm? The Pinpoint Meteorologist Team holds frequent Ask a Met segments on FOX31 NOW.
You can submit a question during our live broadcasts, or on Twitter using #AskAMet. Another way to ask your questions is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.