Breakdown: Why a late Spring frost can damage trees

Breakdown: Why a late Spring freeze can damage trees

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The last Spring freeze varies every year in the Mid-South, but a later date can have detrimental effects on our plants and trees.

Although most vegetation can tolerate temperatures in the 30s, the cold can still damage leaves on trees and shrubs. Damaged leaves will look brown and shriveled. The worst damage typically occurs when temperatures drop into the 20s after a warmer stretch of weather. This is because leaves have started to regrow and are more susceptible to damage.

However, you should not be alarmed if this happens in your yard. Trees and shrubs typically recover quickly and will usually have new growth within a week or two.

For gardeners and farmers, Spring is the time to plant crops and flowers. However, picking the right time to plant can be essential for plant growth too.

The last spring freeze has taken place as early as February 12 in Memphis, which took place back in 1878. The latest last spring freeze took place on April 25, 1910.

On average, around March 19 is the last freeze to take place in Memphis. Due to this, you should consider cold-hardy plants that can handle a few frosts or wait until mid-April to plant anything.

Salad staple lettuce will not germinate in soil that’s 80-degree temperature or higher. That means spring is the best time to plant the leafy plant that can be ready to pick in two months.

The most popular garden vegetable in America is the tropical tomatoes but they need to be inside and then moved outside after the last frost of the season.

Just like tomatoes, eggplants cannot survive a frost, so its best to get them going after the last frost of the season.


Memphis February 12, 1878 April 25, 1910 March 19
Jackson, TN March 17, 1976 April 25, 2013 April 5
Jonesboro, AR March 4, 2012 May 6, 1927 March 30
Tupelo, MS February 26, 2012 May 4, 1978 March 28
NWS Memphis- East Memphis March 4, 2012 April 16, 2014 March 28

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