Garden experts, road crews scramble to battle unseasonal winter blast in Central Indiana

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GREENWOOD, Ind. — Winter was supposed to be over in March, but apparently Mother Nature has other plans for central Indiana. The snow and cold are forcing Hoosiers and road crews to pivot quickly.

“Just work we didn’t expect for sure,” laments Mallory Duncan, Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

INDOT took all of the plows off of their trucks. They had to be put back on as road crews scrambled to get back on the roads. They had 30 central Indiana drivers come in at 8 pm Tuesday evening to begin working. They did not pre-treat the roads, but are hopeful the warmer road temperatures will keep ice at bay.

“Our pavement temperatures have a lot of residual heat from these warm weeks we have been having,” adds Duncan, “It could get a little slick depending on how fast those temperatures drop.”

For those Hoosiers with gardens, experts suggest getting ice on vulnerable plants could keep them alive.

“Take a hose and spray the plants to get some ice on the plants. The freezing water will give off heat and help protect the plant,” explains Robert Milne a horticulturist at McCammon’s Irish Market, “‘If you put out real tender plants, hopefully you didn’t, you want to bring those in or cover them.”

Milne also suggests covering plants with cardboard, frost blankets, sheets, leaves or mulch. He says stay away from plastic.

“At 28 degrees for four to five hours that will freeze the plant. Below that it’s definitely going to go,” says Milne, adding that once it hits 26 degrees the survival rate is extremely low.

Milne went on to say that most perennials will be able to last the night. If you haven’t protected your most vulnerable plants yet, he suggests spraying them with water in the pre-dawn hours, which is when it will be the coldest.

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