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Tips for home gardeners who lost flowers and plants in the late May frost.

A closeup photo showing brown blossoms on a blueberry plant
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Vermont Public
Blueberry blossoms show frost damage on a bush at Green Mountain Orchards in Putney on Thursday, May 18.

Widespread frost hit our region mid-monthwhen overnight temperatures hovered in the high 20s for a few overnight hours.

The cold snap spelled disaster for folks with bigger gardens, farms and orchards.

And on a smaller scale, a lot of home gardeners who had just put transplants into gardens and raised beds, or whose fruit trees had just flowered, also lost them to the frost.

Certain hilly regions got no frost, while valley floors where the cold air settled had significant damage on plants and trees.

There was even some hit-or-miss in the same garden, with frost hitting some plants, tree trunks and lower branches but not touching others.

Add to it the flowering and leafing out of hardy kiwi, grapes, hydrangeas and the like that bloomed much sooner than normal from the warm, early spring temperatures. Those plants were more vulnerable to the frost.

Q: We had a hard frost at my location: 24 degrees! My Asiatic lilies look pretty bad right now. Will these lilies recover for the season or will they never bloom this year? - Celeste, via email

A: As long as the growth point in the center of the Asiatic lily survived the frost, it will continue to grow.

Q: What happens to trees, and their leaves, when they are hit with a hard frost in May, like we just had? - Robert, via email

For woody plants, as long as the stem and the trunk survived and the plant was healthy, they should continue to grow.

Other trees whose leaves were blackened and damaged from the late frost should re-leaf again.

If it's early enough in the season, most tree can re-grow new leaves, similar to last year when the spongy moth caterpillars ate the leaves and most trees sprouted new ones.

For fruiting trees and strawberries and blueberries, if the plants had flowers that were wide open, notice the center of the flowers where the fruit would set.

If the centers are black, the plant is damaged by frost and will not set fruit this year.

If you have fruit trees like apples, pears and cherries in your yard and they already had already flowered and set their fruit, they should be okay and go on to produce fruit.

And if your vegetable plantings and seedlings didn't appreciate the 20-degree temps, their foliage may have turned brown or black and the leaves curled. That means they are probably done for.

The positive news is that it's still relatively early in the planting season. If you're able, you might want to start over.

Q: In fall 2020, I planted 30 daffodil bulbs. They all bloomed in 2021. In 2022, they all came up but only five bloomed. This year, it looks like that same thing: all the leaves are up but only three flowers. Any suggestions? - Jen, in Waitsfield

A: After the tulips' foliage yellows, dig up the bulbs and take a good look at them. If they're soft and rotting, the soil is not well-drained and you might want to move them somewhere else.

More tulip bulb know-how from All Things Gardening: If your tulips and daffodils didn't bloom, try some bulb forensics to find out why

If the bulbs are really small they might be lacking nutrition or sunlight. So again, moving them to a sunnier spot with well-drained soil and fertilizing them in the fall will help them bloom better next spring.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Submit your written question via email, or better yet, leave a voicemail with your gardening question so we can use your voice on the air! Call Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Listen to All Things Gardening Sunday mornings at 9:35 a.m., and subscribe to the podcast to listen any time.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.