October 22, 2021

Winter is coming

Cover your plants to protect from freeze

Metro Creative Graphics

If you thought Thursday morning was cold and miserable, get ready for another bite of frost tonight into Saturday morning. The Binghamton office of the National Weather Service said overnight lows may drop to around freezing.

Friday night will be “the coldest night” over the next few days, said meteorologist Joanne Labounty.

All of east central and eastern New York and southern Vermont and western Massachusetts are under a freeze warning overnight through Saturday morning, according to a National Weather Service bulletin.

“This is pretty typical for the average first frost in the area,” Labounty said. “It’s not unusual.”

However, the rest of Saturday “will be a pretty nice day,” she said, with a high of 58, followed by a Sunday high of 64, and overnight lows will rise into the 40s.

Gardeners and plant-lovers who already haven’t moved their green friends inside might want to do so now, suggested Claudia Hitt, horticulture program educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Cortland County.

“I just brought in a bunch of plants,” Hitt said Thursday afternoon. “A lot of plants, especially the tropicals, need to be brought in.”

Plants that can stand a little cold can be left out on the porch, she said, but plant owners might want to consider covering them.

Same goes for garden plants. Choice of covering is important, she said. Plastic is a last resort; sheets or old blankets are better because they will help prevent heat from escaping.

But any plants wrapped up on the porch need to be completely covered “because any piece that is sticking out will be damaged from the cold,” she said.

Hitt said gourds can withstand a good frost, and pumpkins can handle a light one, but apples should be covered.