Hard Freeze Likely To Damage Flowers, Plants And Fruit Blossoms - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Hard Freeze Likely To Damage Flowers, Plants And Fruit Blossoms

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The Ohio Valley is under a hard freeze warning.

The Belmont County EMA has alerted the Extension Service and the Farm Bureau to warn farmers.

In Ohio County, Extension Agent John Miller says property owners need to take steps quickly if they want to save their blooming flowers and fruits.

Miller says the extremely warm weather has prompted everything to come out early, from tulips to peach blossoms.

But now there's a hard freeze predicted.

"Well, we expect things to get nipped," says Miller. "Things like fruit trees that came out in bloom, apples, peaches, plums, pears, those kinds of things. This is a hard freeze. It's going to knock the blossoms right off of them. Things that would normally bloom the end of April, the first of May, are blooming right now, and they're in trouble."

Miller says fruit trees in bloom now will get zapped, and that means no fruit this summer.

But he says there is a way to prevent that.

"If you have a small dwarf fruit tree, you could cover that," says Miller. "If you have some things like strawberries blooming, you could cover them. Low-lying things that you can physically cover. You want to use the heat of the ground to keep them warm. So the covering has to go clear to the ground if you're going to cover a fruit tree because you'll use the soil as the reservoir of heat."

As for tulips and daffodils, there's good news and bad news.

"You may lose the bloom off of them," says Miller, "but it won't kill the plant. They're accustomed to being frozen because they bloom early in the spring like this. They've got enough compounds in them to keep them from being killed by the freezing weather."

Early season root crops like onions and potatoes, Miller says, are in the clear.

He says they'll do all right without being covered.

In fact, Miller says he has seen potato plants covered with snow and doing just fine.