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Snow could affect plants: be prepared

Published On: Mar 04 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 06 2013 05:39:33 AM CST

Snow could affect plants, be prepared

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A major winter storm south and west of us is expected to bring a little snow our way, and people here are preparing. 

Forecasters say the snow will be heavy and wet -- with winds to go along with it -- and that could cause some problems.

Area nurseries have some tips for protecting those early-season plants that are already popping up in spots.

"I think I have some spring bulbs coming up, daffodils, things like that," said Delores Kirschner of Pikeville, Berks Co.

Early tulips, baby daffodils, Asiatic lillies, and crocus are starting to appear.  And plant experts say snow can actually be worse for them than an April freeze.

"I would say snow is probably more dangerous, just because of all that moisture and that heaviness," said Bonnie Wernett at Dan Schantz Greenhouse in Allentown.

If you're protecting your plants, conventional wisdom says, cover them with plastic.  But experts say, that's a bad idea.

"Plastic, number one, really smothers the plant," said Wernett.  "It will also get very heavy when it gets wet."

Instead, try burlap.  Wernett said it's light and it breathes.

"All you have to do is drape it over," she said.

PPL Electric is also preparing.  The utility will open its system-wide Emergency Command Center Wednesday morning.  Although PPL expects most problems in the Harrisburg area, around here, gusty winds coupled with even a little heavy, wet snow could be problematic for trees.

Back at the greenhouse, most people are already thinking about warmer weather.

"I planted some dianthis last year," said Rae Ann Fisher of Allentown, "and when I pulled the summer blooms out, they were still blooming and still green, so I left them in and they're still green."

One more thing to protect your plants.  If you've got an old pot laying around, just stick it on top of your blooms.  It creates a sturdy canopy to protect them from the snow, but holes on the bottom keep your plants ventilated.