How to protect plants from first frost

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With the first frost on the horizon, many are wondering what to do with plants, such as fall mums, to protect them.

Carl Angiuli of Angiuli’s Farm Market said the plant is hearty but the blooms can be damaged.

“Typically, I would say use blankets to cover your plants or your flowers in the garden. That would be your best option. If you don’t have that, you could use some plastic Visqueen tarps,” he said.

And as for tomato plants, which may still be bearing fruit, treat them differently than you would in a spring frost.

“In the spring, maybe you could go out there and get the frost off of it, but with the fruit set, you can’t do that because your fruit will get damaged,” Angiuli said.

Our first frost could be this week, meaning colder temperatures are coming, but don’t count on a walk through Mill Creek Park filled with vibrant fall foliage just yet.

Leaves we typically see as bright oranges and yellows are brown. Eric Barrett, area leader at the Mahoning County OSU Extention Office, said that the warmer weather we’ve had through September and early October has set us back.

As the days get shorter and nights get cooler, the leaves absorb less chlorophyll, turning them from green to oranges and reds. But that hasn’t happened yet. Bees are still in the flowers, and the trees and many of them are still green. Other trees have skipped the colorful stage altogether.

“We’ve had a lot of anthracnose and other diseases in maples this year, so some of them have already started to lose their leaves,” Barrett said.

One sign of disease is leaves falling earlier than normal or turning brown and crunchy too soon.

“Nothing to really be worried about. It is just when we have a real humid and rainy summer that happens,” Barrett said. “The temperature change to cool nights is really going to make a difference.”

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