The month of May can lull gardeners into a false sense of security
when it comes to outdoor plants in the northeastern United States.
Even though weather has started to warm up in May, and most nights
stay above 40-degrees F., there can still be a night or two when
temps drop into the low 30's and cause damage to the tender new
growth on landscape plants and freshly planted annual flowers.
Cold damage showed up as brown leaves
Laceleaf Japanese Maple, two weeks after a
couple cold nights in mid-May
Some plants are more susceptible to cold damage than
others. Ornamentals like the laceleaf Japanese Maple shown in the
photo above, are particularly sensitive to late spring cold snaps.
Therefore, it is best to throw a bed sheet over top of these
sensitive plants when they have already leafed-out, and you hear a
cold night is in the May forecast.
"Early bird" gardeners, who planted their tomatoes, vegetables or annual
flowers before Memorial Day, are often caught by surprise in May.
If you do plant early, make sure you have a plan to cover plants (or
move them inside) when we get one of these cold May surprises.
Freeze damage to plants