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'If the bud freezes, then you'll lose that fruit': Valley braces for freezing temps

Plants budding from weeks of warm weather could be in for a shock this week, while farmers and gardeners are planning ahead for an overnight freeze. (SBG).

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - Plants budding from weeks of warm weather could be in for a shock this week, while farmers and gardeners are planning ahead for an overnight freeze.

Early signs of spring made for delicate buds that are now out in the cold.

"We have new growth on trees, we have plants that are budding, plants that are flowering," said Shirley Betournay, Master Gardener at OSU Extension Service. "If the bud freezes, then you lose that fruit."

Betournay says that overnight lows in the twenties could mean trouble for blueberries, lettuce and other garden bloomers. The best protection for the buds is coverage.

Betournay says that even a bed sheet will do, and the idea is to let in sunshine and water, but create insulation to the cold and protection from the frost.

As for on a farm, the same type of strategy goes.

Walt Johnson says he's seen some early potato sprouts vulnerable to the elements. However, it's still early enough in the year that he doesn't have to worry too much.

"What it'll do is turn this all black, then it would have to start new sprouts from down below," said Johnson, a farmer at Johnson Farms. "I think we're going to be okay on almost everything."

But as Betournay advises, it's better to be safe than sorry. So cover them up, and hope for the best.

You can also put your garden plants closer to your house or bundle them together to keep in heat. Also, if you have plants that freeze this week, don't be too quick to toss them. Instead, wait until May, because they could make a comeback.


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