Frost comes with the cold weather: How it impacts SWFL environment

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

When cold weather happens, frost happens too — something we don’t see too often in our area. And we see less and less of it every year.

However, as temperatures dip Tuesday and Wednesday, we could get some frost, which might rid the area of pesky bug and make our plants healthier. We looked at further ways frost impacts our environment.

In her retirement, Becky Rhodes works at Riverland Nursery in Lee County.

“I love the plants,” said Rhodes, a sales associate at the nursery.

Two days a week, Rhodes helps people find the perfect plant.

“I like working with the people and being able to help them get a Florida landscape,” Rhodes said.

One of the facets of Southwest Florida’s landscape is the warm weather — for now.

“Well, it’s going to get colder,” WINK’s Chief Meteorologist Jim Farrell said. “It’s going to be noticeably colder, probably the coldest we’ve had since January of 2018.”

With cool weather sometimes comes frost, which we haven’t seen much of in a while.

“It’s going to be breezy,” Farrell said. “So there really shouldn’t be a lot of damaging frost, but I do expect some patchy frost in the morning Wednesday.”

All insects have some ability to withstand cold weather. One common strategy: bugs burrow underground for protection from the elements.

“I’m going to go out tonight and harvest my, collect all of my caterpillars I have,” Rhodes said.

Love it or hate it, frost has its perks.

“If it gets cold enough, it’s going to eliminate temporarily some insect pests,” said Stephen Brown, a horticultural agent at the UF/IFAS Extension in Lee County. “Some of your temperate fruit trees such as peaches and apples … They actually may fruit better with this cold weather.”

However, a temperature drop can cause some browning or flower drop-off. But Brown said there shouldn’t be too much to worry about the frost causing a detrimental effect.

“If you have a temporary setback with some of your plants, don’t lose heart,” Brown said. “They’ll come back.

And, just like those plants, the warmth will come back too.

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