Protecting plants from the piercing cold - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Protecting plants from the piercing cold

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FOREST HILL, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - 2013 set more record lows than highs, and as the cold pattern continues into 2014, the nurseries of Forest Hill are taking precautions.

"If you get several days of frost, it will harden off the new growth and your plants will be fine. If the freeze stays for about 5-6 hours, that's when it starts doing a little bit more damage," said Jay Maloney of Poole Brothers Nursery.

Losing plants means losing money for the town that's economy is largely nurseries.

"Just this town alone for Louisiana, you're probably looking at $50 million a year economy just for central Louisiana so, a very thriving industry and a lot of people don't even realize we're here," said Debbie Head.

They're keeping their plants wet, and they're keeping them covered.

"With the water, actually if it's a cold freeze coming in, we'll water the day before and that adds a layer of protection to the root system which actually protects your plants," said Head.

"Water will generate a little bit more heat into the ground," said Maloney.

So far, Forest Hill has been hasn't been affected by the cold, but sleet or snow could change that.

"A lot of snow could hurt a nursery, Crush the hot houses, because of the weight. If it's sleeting, and the sleet starts sticking to these hot houses, they'll start causing a weight and they'll crush a hot house," said Maloney.

Many plants are cold-hearty, but many others can be acclimated, so nurseries urge you to buy local.

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