CHICAGO (CBS) — Tomatoes by the thousands bit the compost overnight due to a combination of impatience and cold weather. WBBM’s John Cody has more.

Chicago’s overnight temperatures dropped to 38 degrees, tough for sensitive plants

“Average frost-free date in Chicago is around the 15 of May and so those people that rushed a little bit and just couldn’t contain their exuberance and put frost tender things like begonias or frost- tender tropical plants out, they may have sustained damage over the weekend,” said Chief Horticulturalist Tony Fulmer at the Chalet Garden Center in Wilmette.

He says cold killed plants die from the top down. The most reliable sign is upper leaves looking wilted, like they need water.

Fulmer says tender annuals that look like that just need to be replaced. He says this can be done in time since the growing season is still ahead.

Fulmer also says there’s not much that can be done for a cold killed plant except to replace it.

He points out this is only a problem for tender annuals. He says trees, shrubs and bulbs have developed their own cold coping mechanisms over time and will do fine regardless of the region’s temperature ups and downs.

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