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Local nursery and florist battle cold weather to keep plants alive

MACON, Ga. -- Amid the recent cold weather, some local nurseries and garden centers are taking extra precautions to protect their plants.

Victor Davidson, owner of Agape Nursery in Macon, said they brought many of their plants into their shop overnight to make sure they were damaged by the below freezing temperatures. The plants that couldn't be brought in were protected by frost covers.

With one more night of low temperatures in the forecast, Davidson said those frost covers will likely stay on through Friday morning.

Thanks to his precautions, many of Agape's blueberry bushes remained unscathed, though a few other plants suffered freeze burn. However, he said that those plants affected by the burn can be saved once the frozen branches are clipped off. He said the freeze burn can cause plants to lose valuable growth.

Davidson said that the biggest problem that they are facing is that because of recent warm weather, his plants bloomed early, making them more susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures. That new growth gave him more reason to bring his plants inside or cover them up.

Davidson said on cold days, they do not get the foot traffic they are used to seeing with warmer temperatures. He said just last week people were out buying plants but that is not the case with cold weather. He said they just have to wait for the warm weather again to get customers back.

Tim Rozier, manager of Johnson's Garden Center, said they are facing similar issues. He was also forced to cover some of his plants with frost covers in order to protect them.

However, many of his plants are kept in greenhouses, so they opted to place propane heaters in them with fans to help circulate the heat.

It appears that this worked, as his plants seemed to have gotten through the cold undamaged, despite many of them coming from Florida and not being used to freezing weather.

Rozier said that these cold temperatures certainly slow down business but that he has received several phone calls from people asking questions about how to keep plants safe in the cold.

He said that with one more night of cold in the forecast, those who are not able to bring plants inside but want to protect them can create a makeshift frost cover using old sheets or towels.

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