What experts are saying about frost advisories, annual plants in Metro Detroit

Some above-freezing temps could also harm plants, says nursery

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Frost is still on people’s minds in late May and for a good reason.

Communities of Southeast Michigan, north of 8 Mile Road, were under a Frost Advisory from Thursday (May 25) night through early Friday morning.

Some places saw lows dip to the lower 30s.

That did not stop shoppers from packing Ray Wiegand’s Nursery and Garden Center in Macomb Township.

“So, I planted all my vegetables already,” said Birgitta Pettibone of Sterling Heights. “So, I’ve had to cover those a couple of times, but now I’m doing the rest of my flowers.”

Frost is still on people’s minds in late May and for a good reason. (WDIV)

Pettibone said that she has some sensitive plants, especially the cucumbers.

“Those I worry about because they don’t tolerate temperatures under like 50 (degrees) too well,” Pettibone said.

Pettibone covered her vegetable garden with a blanket. Wiegand’s brought their flowers indoors.

“These are like our babies, and we’re like, ‘I don’t even want to risk it,’” said Jess Stout, who works at Wiegand’s.

She said the damage could present itself immediately or weeks later.

“If you’ve watered it and it’s not perking back up, you probably have the cold damage,” Stout said.

Stout said winter-hardy perennials have a better chance of avoiding damage and should regrow. The nursery recommends covering them when temperatures fall to 40 degrees or lower.

For annuals, which are often less tolerant to the cold, they recommend protecting them when temps fall to 50 degrees.

“On some of the annuals, you can cut off some of the foliage that has been affected, but sometimes if it’s more mushy and the leaves are all falling off, and the stems seem like they might not be viable, you might have to lift those and replace them with fresh products,” Stout said.

The average last freeze of the season in Detroit is April 24. The latest freeze on record for the city was May 29, 1966.

Frost is still on people’s minds in late May and for a good reason. (WDIV)

About the Authors:

Ron is a Detroiter and MSU grad who has a tremendous passion for meteorology. He joined the 4Warn Weather Team in March 2023.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.