Experts say to wait until May for ideal planting

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) — On Tuesday, it was back to winter in the Valley after a summer-like weekend.

Lutz Greenhouse in Salem said whenever there is a warm snap, people want to start planting. But co-owner Kathie Lutz said it’s way too early to plant and people should wait until mid-May.

And if anyone did plant anything, they should make sure to cover it. Lutz said if someone has spring fever, they can grow something in their house that can be taken outside when the temperatures are warmer, such as begonias or hydrangeas.

“Begonias are a wonderful plant because you can keep it in the house year round if you choose or come spring, you can take it outside for spring or summer, bring it back in the fall. You’ve got a plant that will last forever,” Lutz said.

Pansies can survive temperatures as low as 32 degrees. Anything lower, it is best to move the pot or basket inside. Perennials are used to the cold, so they should be OK, Lutz said.

“If your perennials, your little bulbs, are just up and you’re seeing a little bit of green, chances are this doesn’t hurt them. If you’ve seen some flower, I would suggest throwing a little cover over the flowers,” Lutz said.

We also checked in with the OSU Extension Office in Mahoning County to find out if road salt will have any effect on plants. Extension coordinator Eric Barrett said salt on sidewalks and in soil binds with nutrients and sometimes the plant can’t grow in the soil.

He said to hold off pruning anything close to the sidewalk, including boxwood, azaleas and evergreens. He said to wait and see what buds pop up.

But what about crops?

Ralph Wince, a grain merchandiser with Agland Co-Op in Canfield, said planting numbers released Monday night by the U.S. Department of Agriculture show corn planting nationwide is 3 percent, which is normal. That corn is being planted in the south.

“Our ground temperatures here are in the mid to upper 30s and that really does not germinate anything,” Wince said. “Ohio this week was at zero percent planted and I think last year we were 1 percent planted.”

Frost still needs to work its way out of the soil, which Wince said is taking longer this year.

“As long as we are able to have corn planted by mid-May and soy beans by the end of May, from a grain perspective, we’re probably going to be OK at this stage in the game,” Wince said.

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