Plant industry affected by cold weather

Tough spring for plants
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - From plant shops to vineyards, it’s been a tough spring for those with a green thumb.

Cold weather this spring is once again making folks find ways to adjust to save their crops.

“Usually once or twice a year we have to move things in and move them back out,” Joe Touchette, Plant Plus manager said. “This year it seems like every week.”

Touchette calls the recent fluctuating weather a threat to his crops, especially frost bite in low temperatures.

“If it’s a gradual trend the plants can take that but when it gets warm and then cold, it’s really hard on them,” Touchette said

He said says he keeps a special eye on plants like tomatoes, and they can freeze in temperatures even in the 40s.

“We have some that don’t look the greatest. So, we left them out a couple nights when it was too cold and they get kind of sad, they get kind of wilty looking,” Touchette said.

Robert Bullock is one of the owners of River ridge Winery in Scott City.

He said he’s having the same issues with his budding vineyards.

“If that gets frostbit then we’re functionally done with that varietal of whichever vines were affected. We probably won’t get any fruit or very little off of those of good quality,” Bullock said.

He said a packed winery is normal during the Spring.

However, there is not much he can do to prevent frostbite. He would have to travel far to replace special vines.

“Texas, California, so a long way. I just don’t know any other that’s grown anywhere nearby,” Bullock said.

Despite the challenges Bullock and Touchette said they are hoping for the best.

“Your products are important to you, and you want to take care of them,” Touchette said.

“If you get set back one year you just prepare for the next year it’s ok,” Bullock said.

If you have plants at home Touchette recommends bringing them into your garage or covering them to stay warm.

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