The 2006 growing season is about to come to an end. The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning that covers most of Iowa for tonight (Wednesday) through tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Overnight low temperatures are expected in the 20s virtually statewide.
Don Janssen, an extension horticulture educator, says despite recent jumps into the 80-degree range, we’re in fall now and the deep freeze is right on schedule. Janssen says “This is not uncommon for this to happen. It’s just that when we have such nice weather early and all of the sudden it turns cold and the thought of freezing temperatures always scares people.”
The Weather Service says a freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. The conditions will kill remaining sensitive vegetation. Janssen says Iowa homeowners can save some of their plants, but they’ll have to make room inside the house or garage. He says “Any plant that can be mobile, in other words, in a pot of some kind, those should be moved into a location that will not freeze.”
While most green thumbers are concerned about protecting existing growth, Janssen said now is the time for planting those bulbs and doing a little more work on the yard. He says lawns should be mowed around two-and-a-half inches in height, keep the leaves off of the grass so it’s not smothered, and apply a late-season, winterizing fertilizer on the lawn toward the end of October.