SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — This is the time of year where greenhouses are looking so colorful and smelling very fragrant as many buy their flowers and plants to beautify the landscape around their home.  The question is, is it too early to plant?  Jess Hafner, co-owner, of Hafners in Liverpool says, “anything coming out of the greenhouse is about the same.  So, if by chance you do get some cold temperatures in the future, you’d want to protect them.  Other than that, your nursery stock all should be fine. Hanging baskets, they’re under overhangs and nothing will bother them, and a great gift for mom for sure!  Roses should be good as well.”

Frost potential history

While we aren’t expecting any frost potential into Mother’s Day weekend, we can’t rule out frost across CNY this month, especially before Memorial Day.  The average last date of lows dropping to 36 degrees or lower in Syracuse is May 12th with the latest low of 36 degrees or lower occurring back on June 5th, 1964.  You may be thinking 36 degrees?  I thought in order for us to see frost it has to be 32 degrees or lower?  Nope.

A morning low of 36° could lead to a frosty start?

As you can see below, temperatures are typically measured 4 to 6 feet up off the ground, and often it’s a bit colder at ground level by a few degrees.  This is because the cold air is heavier and settles to the ground.  So, what’s Jess Hafner’s advice if we end up having to protect our flowers/gardens from a frost threat again?  

What’s recommended to protect your flowers/plants

Jess Hafner says “put a recycling bin over the top, or a sheet or something just over the top. You don’t need to insulate it cause we shouldn’t get any more freezing temperatures, you just need something over the top that just keeps the frost off of it.”

Other things that Jeff suggests that can be used to cover flowers/plants besides a recycling bin and sheets are shirts/cloths, a pot, garbage can and plastic as long as it doesn’t touch the plants otherwise frost can get through the plastic and still damage it.

Mother Nature does all the gardeners and farmers a favor when there are clouds and or precipitation falling even when temperatures are as low as the mid to upper 30s!  Yes, the clouds and precipitation help insulate the plants, but it’s a different story if the sky is clear with light winds at night and readings drop into the mid-30s.  This is when the frost potential is much higher and everyone that has flowers/plants is scrambling to protect their vegetation.    

Frost worse than snow for your vegetation?

Here’s an interesting tidbit that may surprise you when it comes to snow vs. frost and the impacts on plants.  Jess says snow can help insulate the flowers/leaves, while when frost (ice) forms on the leaves/flowers and as it melts it actually ends up burning the leaves which can lead to their demise. 

That said, we may have to protect those plants next week at least once or twice but let’s hope not!  For the latest on the frost potential next week stay tuned to the NewsChannel 9 Storm Team.