Plants, farms affected by freezing temps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Depending on where people live in north Florida, the freezes over the weekend have affected some in different ways.

For some, the low temperatures killed plants. For others, it did nothing.

To the surprise of many who live east of the St. Johns River, their flowers were still fine. But on the Westside, there was more damage to plants, although nothing too severe.

"Any damage that was done you can physically see right now," said Chris Trad, who owns Trad's Garden Center in San Jose. "You won't have any future ramifications that are not seen. You literality see every bit of damage that you are going to have."

It's the same for lawns. Unless the recent warm weather before the freeze spurred you on to cut the grass, you might notice a change.

"If you have St. Augustine grass, it could have pushed your lawn back into dormancy a little bit," Trad said. "It would turn it a little more brown. But as soon as we get warm, get some water and fertilizers, it's going to push right back out."

For most residents, the cold weather did not cause any problems. Maybe Azaleas were killed because of it, but for some people, it didn't make a big difference.

Dowless Blueberry Farm on the Westside did feel some of the freeze effects.

"Some of those are gone. See, that is a gone flower, but these may survive. I don't know," blueberry farmer Stewart Dowless said.

To protect his blueberries, Dowless ran sprinklers Sunday night, freezing the plants.

Dowless said the problem this year was the winter was too warm. He said there needs to be some cold days, but before the bushes bloom.

"The plant gets confused and thinks that spring is here," he said. "And once they bloom, you have a freezing temperature. You don't have any way of protecting them and they are gone."

Dowless thinks he protected most of his crop, but he won't know until it's ready to harvest in June.

"It may have saved them. I don't know. You can't tell," he said. "Maybe it saved half of them. Whatever it saved, I am happy."

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