Fruit trees and the next burst of spring color are at risk in the Omaha area from a possible freeze Monday and Tuesday nights.
Much of Midlands saw some degree of freezing temperatures in the past few days, including parts of Bellevue. Now it appears to be Omaha's turn.
Irises, peonies, viburnum, tulips — anything with a flower or flower bud — will lose their flowers if exposed to temperatures of 32 degrees or lower, said Kathleen Cue, horticulturist for the University of Nebraska Lincoln-Extension in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.
Apple, peach, pear and cherry trees likely would lose some of their fruit at that temperature, and more if the mercury drops to the mid-20s, she said.
The National Weather Service and AccuWeather Inc. are forecasting a brush with temperatures in the low 30s Monday and Tuesday night.
However, it's better to be safe than sorry, said Scott Dergan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office that serves the metro area.
Temperatures can vary widely based on locations, and, given the conditions, temperatures could drop lower than expected. On Sunday, for example, the mercury dropped to 39 degrees at Council Bluffs Airport but 29 degrees at Offutt Air Force base.
At least some patchy frost is possible in the metro area and an outright freeze is forecast for areas to the north, including Washington County.
Cue offered these suggestions for covering plants:
>>Do not use plastic. It transmits the cold directly to the plant.
>>Cover with a bucket or several layers of sheets or a blanket. Multiple sheets add insulating layers of air.
>>Try to drape a sheet or blanket so it touches the ground, trapping heat.
>>Cover plants in the early evening, but don't remove covering until late morning.
>>If your work schedule limits your flexibility, cover plants Monday evening and remove covering on Wednesday.
>>Cold-season vegetables such as lettuce, peas and spinach should tolerate a light freeze.
>>Flowering plants that have yet to bud, such as day lilies, should be fine.
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