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Return of wintry conditions threatens flowers, fruit trees

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:51 PM

The fate of blooming plants rests on how cold it gets during Old Man Winter's reappearance, according to an agricultural expert.

If the weather stays above freezing, the plants should be fine, said Mike Gastier, Huron County agriculture and natural resources extension educator for The Ohio State University Extension.

However, if the temperature remains below 30, people should cover their blooming plants, Gastier said. A plastic bucket or any plastic cover would work, he added.

Forecasters are calling for scattered snow showers tonight, with wind gusts up to 35 mph and temperatures dipping into the upper 20s. The highs Thursday, Friday and Saturday are projected to be in the mid to upper 30s, while the lows are to be in the 20s.

Gastier said daffodils, in particular, tend to get tattered in the wind.

"Anything they could do to protect them from the wind would help, same with the cold," he said.

Gastier said fruit trees, which are just starting to bud, are at particular risk from the cold weather, especially apples and peaches.

"Truthfully, there really isn't anything they can do," Gastier said. That's why area orchards are located in places such as Berlin Heights, where higher elevations protect them from the frost, he added.

Farmers shouldn't be concerned about the cold temperatures, according to Gastier. The only crop growing now is winter wheat, and that plant can tolerate freezing weather. Furthermore, the first crops of corn and soybeans won't pop out of the ground until early May.

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