This winter thus far has been unseasonably warm until the last week or 2. For the Month of December our High Temperatures were an average of 72.6 degrees with the normal being 57.9 degrees in past years. The Low Temperature average for December was 50 Degrees Versus a historical average of 38.3 Degrees.
We also hit close to record highs in December with several days (8 days to be exact) being at 80 or above. We only had 1 day at or below freezing. (it actually only dropped to 32 degrees)
Freeze Damaged White Kale –
Planted in the ground and watered before the freeze
What does this mean for your Cold Hardy Plants? It means they didn’t have a chance to “harden off”
What does Harden off mean? It is the process of allowing a plant to transition from a protected environment to the harsh outdoor conditions of fluctuating temperatures, wind, and full sun exposure.
What happens if I don’t harden off plants?
If you don’t harden your plants, the tender plants will get burned by the sun, the shock of cold, or the wind. Some plants may recover from burn (even fully), but their growth will be set back a few weeks while they recover.
Normally – Pansies, Kale, Cabbage, Dusty Miller and more would do this naturally from the greenhouse to the ground. You would plant them when the daytime temps are in the 70s or below and the nighttime temps are in the 60s or less. As the weather cools gradually, they would naturally harden off and be prepared for a freeze.
This Year – The weather went from about 80 degrees down to a low of 20 with strong winds over a period of 24 hours. 20 Degrees in North Texas isn’t a slight freeze, that is a hard freeze. This resulted in your “cold hardy” annuals getting freeze damage, when on a normal year they would be fine.
Freeze Damaged Redbor Kale in a container about 30” above the ground
So what do you do now? Wait… Unfortunately only time will tell. We assume it will be the same as the hard freeze last year where it will just take time for the plants that are going to recover to do so.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us.
Pansies that are Limp and Stressed from the cold