Late cold snaps mean extra hassle for gardens, farmers
By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Giselle Hood
Temperatures are rising in Tuscaloosa, but the ever-present threat of a late cold snap means farmers are taking extra care with their crop preparations.
Pockets of cold weather are common in March and April, but a late freeze can wreak havoc on budding vegetation.
“Typically with a La Nina, we see warmer than average temperatures,” said WVUA 23 News Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott. “But what I have a great fear of is if we have another cold snap. We often do see a cold snap even in La Nina seasons.”
Hanna Malone is the assistant manager of Tree House Farm and Nursery in Northport, and she said Alabama’s eclectic late winter is never a good thing for plants.
“That new growth is more tender to cold temperatures,” Malone said. “So if we go below freezing again, it is going to hurt that new growth.”
Malone said last-minute cold snaps are big garden-killers, but you can help protect your already-planted plants by covering them with clear plastic sheets, bags or buckets overnight.
That tip doesn’t help farmers much, though, and uncertain temperatures make it difficult to analyze how certain crops will react.
“We don’t want to see a long duration cold snap in March,” Scott said. “Now that things are beginning to bud and bloom, that could be potentially devastating, especially to peach farmers. But there are all sorts of vegetation that is frost and freeze sensitive. And with some of that already in bloom, it could create some real issues.”