Protecting pets, plants from the cold weather

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The spring-like temperatures earlier this week had many people fooled, especially for those who tried to get a head start on gardening.

WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with a gardener to learn more about how you can protect your plants in this cold weather.

At Stanley’s Greenhouse, there are rows of colorful flowers, different shapes and kinds lined along the aisles, but co-owner Monte Stanley said you might have to hold off on planting them.

“We go through this every year. March is a transitional period and it can go either way,” said Stanley.

Cheryl Horn from Morristown was shopping for plants. She knows the cold weather could damage her favorite flowers, so she’s opting to buy a tree instead.

She said, “When it’s in the 20’s we know we have to hold off, but is so hard, because like everyone else, we’re just eager for the spring and the blooms and all of the beautiful colors. The later in the winter season that frost comes, the more damage it can do. So we just keep our fingers crossed.”

Stanley say’s that’s what’s best to do this time of year. Trees, perennials and shrubs will likely thrive, while plants like flowers and fruit trees may not survive.

“If you didn’t cover anything, you definitely want to tonight,” said Stanley.

Protecting your plants is a must when the temperatures drop below freezing.

Stanley adds, “You can buy the bells of straw and shred that over top of them and cloth, anything like that will help them survive.”

Covering up plants will help protect them, but avoiding plastic is recommended because the material doesn’t provide enough insulation for the leaves and buds exposed. You should also cut off damaged parts of plants from frostbite because many flowers have already started to bloom.

“We have daffodils and first thing in the morning we check if there is any damage,” said Horn.

Stanley adds, “If the leaved turned brown and they were green previously, you need to cut those off.”

Another way to prevent plants from dying is to bring them inside and take care of them until the spring weather comes.

Protecting pets from the cold

In regard to pets, no one likes to be left outside in the cold, including your four legged friends. Dr. Adesola Odunayo at UT Veterinary Medical Center said her best advice is to keep them out of the elements.

“With the cold front, just make sure they go out for the shortest time possible to use the bathroom and come back inside. If it’s a pet that stays outside, then making sure they have an insulated house would be the best,” said Odunayo.

Odunayo recommends bedding material such as straw or wood chips so the animal is not lying directly on the ground.

With the cold weather upon us, pets can handle it, but keep in mind, if it’s below freezing, they can be in danger. Hypothermia and frostbite is a concern. At UT Veterinary Medical Center, experts say it’s best to have some sort of heat for your dog or cat.

Also remember not leave the food outdoors for too long, that too can freeze, especially water.

Eddie Anderson walks his dog Emma every day outside of his home in Knoxville, but he’s prepared when the weather gets cold.

“It’s a little easier for us, if we’re outside, we can wear layers and layers and stay warm, but for her, indoors is obviously a much better place when it’s cold weather,” said Anderson.

Another tip is to put a sweater on your dog or cat, they might not like it, but at least it will protect them from the cold.

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