Spring front could be plant killer

Front advisory Tuesday morning for inland Florida

Frost advisory for Inland Florida and Georgia for Tuesday morning!
Frost advisory for Inland Florida and Georgia for Tuesday morning!

A frost advisory issued for Tuesday morning covers all inland counties in Florida and, unofficially, locations west of I-95 in Georgia. This will be mainly between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday.

This is a possible killing frost, where sunrise temperatures will remain above freezing, but clear skies and light winds will allow for excellent radiational cooling. Tender vegetation and some metal roofs will show the frost, an young plant life will also be susceptible to frost damage on leaves.

From my experience, if you have citrus trees that are blooming or seriously budding, you need to cover these as to not lose the entire crop for the year. Tomato plants and leafy greens also need to be covered, in inland locations.

And this is happening three mornings after the first day of Spring, which was Sunday, and just days before Easter.

Yet, this is not unprecedented, as we have seen colder temperatures through  April 8, which was the latest we have ever had freezing temperatures in Duval County. That happened in 2007 -- not that long ago. That particular cold snap did extensive damage to the Georgia peach crop.

Is this cold snap the end of winter?  Well this inland frost might not be the last.

Longer range forecast models (over the next two weeks) are still hinting at least one, maybe two more cold snaps (night time lows below 40 degrees).  One of them may again bring frosty conditions, especially in inland locations.  

So gardeners stay alert!

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