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Don't plant frost-sensitive plants yet

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By Dennis Morgeson

 Every year this happens, and every year I get calls from disgusted gardeners when it does; it warms up for a few days and everyone thinks it’s alright to plant anything!  I noticed this weekend while out shopping that there were people buying tomato plants. I also heard conversations of new gardeners talking of planting!  Yes, I know it only takes a time or two for someone to learn a lesson, but do they really need to feel the sting of nature’s cruelness to learn?  For those of you that know better or those of you that are new to gardening or to our area we will have more frost! 
Don’t be fooled and don’t waste your money and time planting tomatoes or other frost-sensitive crops right now unless you have a way to protect them from cold weather.  Sunday the temperature topped at 90 degrees and they are forecasting a high of 50 on Saturday, it could very well frost Saturday night!
Generally in Kentucky we don’t have frost after April 28 however we aren’t considered safe from frost until May 10.  This means it is not out of the ordinary for our area to have frost past the first week of May!
We are under a fire blight alert from the plant disease specialists at UK.  This means conditions are favorable for fire blight infections to occur.  Apples, pears, and some cherries are blooming now and generally they are most vulnerable to infection at this time.  Bees inadvertently carry fire blight bacteria with them that can enter trees through blooms.  There are antibiotic sprays that orchardists can spray however it is not recommended for homeowners and it is difficult for most of us to purchase.  So, what controls do we have?  First off the best thing you can do to combat fire blight is to plant resistant varieties and to prune out infections as they occur.  Soon after bloom you will see limbs or shoots on some of the susceptible plants that crook over and turn brown.  Prune these out and make sure your cuts are down into clean undamaged tissue.  Make sure to dip your pruners into a 10 percent bleach solution before each cut to reduce the chances of spreading the disease.
If you have any gardening questions give me a call at 859-336-7741 or email me at dennis.morgeson@uky.edu.