FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)-- With frost in the forecast for Friday (April 7) the operations manager for the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks gave some tips to keep gardens safe.
Gerald Klingaman said the decision to cover a plant depends on if it is a cool-season plant or a warm-season plant.
He said a cool-season plant can withstand temperatures down to 26 or 27 degrees.
“Some open flowers like azaleas and apples, you may get a little bit of singeing on the petals but probably not worth covering," Klingaman said. "You’ll probably do more damage to the flowers trying to cover them over than you would just putting up with a real light frost.”
Klingaman explained it is the warm-season plants that a gardener should be concerned about.
The best way to keep them alive is to cover them or bring them inside.
The botanical garden uses ground cloth, also known as frost cloth, but Klingaman said there are other substitutes.
“You can also use a blanket or burlap would work," Klingaman said. "But don’t use plastic. If you just have a plant to protect, a cardboard box works well.”
The average frost-free date for Northwest Arkansas is around mid-April.
Klingaman said it is safe to plant most things but advised people to wait until the last frost.
If you want to be safe, Klingaman advised planting warm-season plants around April 15 or even until the first of May.
A list of plants and the best time to put them in the ground can be found here at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service website.