Originally created 02/16/99

Greenery survives cold snap

The Japanese magnolias were still blooming Monday, and cherry trees along Monte Sano and Wrightsboro roads appeared unfazed.

Although agriculture specialists say any freeze damage from cold weather Sunday and Monday could take days or weeks to detect, the consensus is that it just wan't cold enough.

"We're being told 28 and 29 degrees, which is not really going to hurt anything," said Sid Mullis, Richmond County director for the Georgia Extension Service.

Although late-February frost can damage emerging vegetation hastened by prematurely warm weather, no widespread damage was evident Monday, Mr. Mullis said.

"The main concern for people and yards is tender foliage, things in bloom, and I don't think anything's seriously hurt," he said. "But the jury may still be out, depending on where you live."

The low 20s, he said, is the threshold below which blooms and foliage can be hurt. Because low temperatures vary 8 to 10 degrees between Bush Field and west Augusta, there is no sure way to determine damage immediately.

Farther west, in more rural McDuffie County, Extension Service Director Frank Watson found no widespread damage to emerging crops.

Robert Pavey covers environmental issues for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119, or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.


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