How early frost in Lexington area could impact plants

So why is this unusual weather pattern happening and what can you do to protect those precious perennials and shrubs?
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An early light frost may have caught some plant lovers off guard. Typically, central Kentucky doesn’t see a frost until late October, but some plants are already feeling the freeze.

So why is this unusual weather pattern happening and what can you do to protect those precious perennials and shrubs?

“The weather pattern is kind of funky across the country right now with the hurricane hitting Florida and the jet stream just allowing a lot of Canadian air to come in much earlier than normal this year,” WKYT Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey said.

Watch out, that colder-than-normal air can lead to light frost possibly damaging those precious plants.

“It’s better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to frost so definitely right now is the time to go ahead and start getting that all under control,” said Jacob Lyons, the operations manager at Wilson Nurseries and Plant Co.

There are some things you can do to protect them.

“This is the first one of the year, so those plants are kind of in a little bit of a shock,” Lyons said.

He said he recommends frost blankets, but you can also use regular blankets or even bed sheets.

“The main thing you want to do is cover all the foliage, but not suffocate it, but not have the weight of it bend or break any of the stems,” Lyons said. “You can use rocks, stones, anything that has some weight to it.”

However, vegetables such as kale and collard greens excel in light or moderate frost.

“All of these will do well and they’ll actually give a higher sweeter taste to them,” Lyons said.

Lyons says if your plants can thrive inside, bring them in. Outside plants will eventually feel a hard frost, but Lyons says a water hose can help.

“Actually, watering and kind of spraying off the foliage of your plant to release that frost before the sun rises, that will prevent frost burn as well,” Lyons said.

Lyons believes the people-plant connection is strong.

“There’s definitely a people-plant connection, that’s for sure. It takes time, it’s definitely a labor of love,” Lyons said.

Lyons says plant lovers need to keep a close eye on the weather and watch for any sudden changes.