Freeze warning in effect overnight, how that will impact plants

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 2:26 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Freeze Warning will be in effect for eastern Iowa overnight Thursday and into Friday morning as temperatures will be hovering near that freezing point.

This isn’t the only time we are concerned about those freezing temperatures in the next week. According to the ISU Extension Master Gardners, the growing season is coming to end, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the forecast over a couple of days when deciding whether to cover outdoor plants or not.

It may still be worth it to cover plants outdoors if the freeze/frost is a single event, but since we could see multiple days of freezing temperatures it may not be worth it at this point. With fewer hours of daylight, it can very difficult for plants to recover.

Any potted plants that you have can be brought inside and returned outdoors once temperatures are above freezing, but keep in mind you may have to bring them inside again over the coming days.

Frost/Freeze Forecast
Frost/Freeze Forecast(KCRG)

During this time of the year, annuals can normally handle a frost, because they are a bit hardier according to the Master Gardners. Impatiens have water in their stems and are more tender and are less likely to survive the colder weather. Fall Mums are built more for colder weather can withstand a light frost and bounce back. A hard freeze is defined at 28 degrees, and Mums can normally handle that depending on where they are located. It may just be a good idea to just bring them inside, just in case. Any plants or flowers that are in a low area are also more likely to not survive the colder weather.

Most At-Risk Plants during Freeze
Most At-Risk Plants during Freeze(KCRG)

If you have tomato plants that are in a pot, you will want to bring those inside. The Master Gardners said that it’s also best to trim back the top of the plants. The plant itself will put more effort towards the tomatoes on the stem and less into new growth. If temperatures warm back enough during the day, then you can return them back outside.

Freeze Impact on Tomatoes
Freeze Impact on Tomatoes(KCRG)

You can always keep up to date on your forecast by watching KCRG-TV9, visiting the forecast on, or by downloading the First Alert Weather App.

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