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Cold wave and lack of snow cover will not be good for our landscapes

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Cold wave and lack of snow cover will not be good for our landscapes

Jan 11, 2024
Temperature Map

Temperatures with the coming cold wave will be comparable to the December 2022 cold wave. Here is a comparison:

December 2022 cold snap highs and lows:

45/20, 23/-9, 12/1, 19/7, 26/13, 32/24, 51/27, 59/40

January 2024 cold snap starting Saturday, highs and lows:

31/10, 18/10, 19/9, 17/5, 24/18, 28/14, 22/10, 22/11

The current forecast for the 2024 cold snap presumes little or no snow on the ground. In the 2022 cold snap, we had 3-6 inches of snow on the ground which reduced temperatures significantly and also afforded an insulating blanket to plant root systems.

snowy road
A blizzard with several inches of snow ushered in the 2022 cold snap in Cincinnati which helped protects plant root systems. This time around, it looks like snow may be scarce.

Lack of snow cover means slightly warmer air temperatures but there will be nothing to protect plant root systems from the bitter cold. Plants like knockout roses, cherry laurel, Japanese plum yew, Blue Atlas cedar, and others which are cold sensitive may be at risk. Other plants may also be at risk since we were in drought for months as recently as last week.

snowy trail
Christmas Day 2022

What can you do?

Be sure plant root systems are well mulched.

Be sure soil is moist. This should not be a problem for most plants with recent rains.

For sensitive shrubs such as knockout or other roses, you can build a wire cage around the plant and fill it with leaves or mulch, covering most of the plant. Just be sure to remove all this before growth starts in the spring.

This cold snap will be more prolonged than in 2022.

Stay warm!

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