BLOOMINGTON — Sunday's snow caught a lot of people by surprise, but it shouldn't cause harm to plants, even the daffodils that were blooming, according to gardening experts.

“They aren't even going to notice,” said Kelly Allsup, a horticulture educator with the University of Illinois Extension. “It might keep them in a longer floral display.”

Flowers such as daffodils that were blooming have “adapted to Illinois' cold weather,” she said. “It's not necessarily going to kill them off. … We see blooms in the snow all the time.”

In fact, the several inches of snow that fell was actually beneficial, providing protection from the colder temperatures Sunday night, said Allsup.

“Snow is an insulator,” she said.

The cold snap “probably killed off some insects, but they've adapted, too. … They'll bounce back,” said Allsup.

“This is why you don't clean up your garden too fast,” she said. “Insects are overwintering in the leaves.”

Rather than worry about harm the snow might have caused, Allsup's advice is to “seed your lawn.”

“They always say you seed it at the last snow. It gives us moisture,” she said.

The forecast for the next week does not show any temperatures below freezing. In fact, highs in the upper 60s to low 70s are forecast through Thursday.

Casey Lartz, third generation owner of Casey's Garden Shop, said the snow and cold snap “will slow everything down a little bit,” but added, “It's not that unusual to have cold weather this time of year.”

Lartz said they brought many plants in under cover Sunday for their protection.

“A lot of our stuff is coming out of a greenhouse,” he explained. “Just like you wouldn't go down to Florida and go out in the sun all day the first day or you'll get sunburned, you don't want to shock plants by putting them out in the cold.”

But others have already gotten used to it.

"I looked at my pansies and they're fine,” he said. “Our pansies are toughed up.”

Some of the perennials and shrubs that people may have planted already might get slowed down, but they'll be OK, said Lartz.

Onion, potatoes, strawberries, peas and broccoli can go in now, he said. But hold off on tomatoes, green beans and peppers until the usual day for last frost, said Allsup — or, as Lartz put it, “magic Mother's Day.”

Until then, keep plants such as basil in the kitchen before moving them outside.

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota


Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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