Freeze warning in effect for Boone County

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | 9:58 a.m. CDT; updated 3:45 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 22, 2013

COLUMBIA — The National Weather Service issued the first freeze warning of the fall for Boone and Callaway counties. 

Temperatures are forecast in the upper 20s and lowers 30s for early Wednesday morning. 

The record low on Oct. 23 is 21 degrees in 1895. 

Areas south and west of the Maryville to Boonville line are under a frost advisory, with low temperatures expected to be between 30 and 34 degrees. 

The National Weather Service advises bringing tender vegetation and temperature-sensitive plants indoors. 

Todd Lorenz, regional MU extension horticulturist, explains what that means:

"It's a game you're playing with mother nature," said Lorenz.

Will the temperature actually get that low? What will the wind and cloud coverage be? What environment is the particular plant in: Is it near concrete and asphalt, which retain heat?

These are all questions that Lorenz considers when debating whether to bring plants indoors.

But, just in case the weather does dip below freezing, he suggests taking precautions for anything you want to protect. 

"Our plants, similarly to humans, are made up of cells full of moisture," Lorenz said.

So, when temperatures dip below freezing, the cell wall will rupture and the tissue will start to die. To combat this from happening, Lorenz suggests bringing all movable plants indoors and covering annual plants or flowers that can't be moved with plastic or a blanket.

Another part of the game with mother nature is time. People have to take the time to cover their plants up at night, but also uncover them in the morning. 

Covering plants heat from the soil and protects the cell wall from a freeze. If temperatures during the day warm back up and the plants are still covered they could overheat and die. 

Lorenz said if you want to maintain anything, you have to get in the habit of covering and uncovering them now.

Supervising editor is Stephanie Ebbs.

Supervising editor is Stephanie Ebbs.

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