HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With freezing temperatures lingering over the Pine Belt, gardeners say people must be careful when it comes to their plants.
Michael Garner, co-owner of Heritage Lawn and Garden Center in Hattiesburg, has been in business for over 30 years and said he knows a thing or two when it comes to protecting plants during cold temperatures.
“Tropical plants, house plants, tender plants like hibiscus or ferns need to come inside,” said Garner. “You can put them inside the house, put them in a garage, in a storage building or cover them."
He said you first must know what type of plants you have.
“If you have pansies, snapdragons, or things like that, they’re use to cold weather,” said Garner. “You probably don’t have to worry about covering them. But, if you’re one of those people who got eager early and planted tomato plants or pogonias, it’s a good idea to cover them because they are going to die.”
Garner said at his nursery they use frost cloth to cover their plants such as their lemon trees.
“You notice on top of it we stabilized it so the wind won’t blow it up .and get it cold underneath the frost cloth,” said Garner.
Garner said if you have outdoor plants that you can’t bring inside, he suggests moving them close together and covering the root system so they can stay warm.
Another tip is wrapping your plants with Christmas lights.
“My business partner has a big lemon tree in his backyard and he puts Christmas [lights] around it during this kind of weather,” said Garner. “It saves the fruit as well as the foliage. Plus, it’s festive.”
Garner said if you have plants that are low to the ground, it’s a good move to throw pine straw over them to keep them warm.
Other items he said can be used to cover your plants include sheets, burlap, frost cloth and even plastic.
“Plastic, if you have to use it, it’s OK,” said Garner. “Plastic needs to come off the plant immediately the next day because plastic will burn easily.”
Garner said you don’t want to let the weather fool you. According to gardener myth, the ideal time to start planting is April 15th.