Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nursery owners hope snow misses them

Nursery owners are watching closely the weather forecasts during the next couple of days.

Unusually cool weather is expected Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Office, and the foothills and mountains of the Cascades and the Coastal Range are expected to get snow as low as 500 feet and possible accumulations of two to four inches.

That might not sound like a lot, but for nursery owners who have been moving their colorful stock out of the greenhouses to prepare them for shipping to markets, it has become a guessing game of whether their nurseries will escape the snow or not.

Bob Terry, Oregon Association of Nurseries president, said this afternoon that his nursery and others are busy preparing for “just in case” — if the snow appears to be heading their way, the nurseries will try to cover up as many of their more vulnerable plants as possible. While a hard freeze would cause serious damage, the nurseries don’t want to take any chances with unusual snowfalls this time of year.

This is the critical time for nurseries as they try to get their plants ready for the eager gardeners across the country. The calendar says it’s spring, even if there remains a lot of wintry weather in some areas; West Coast nurseries play an important role in helping meet the demand of retail and wholesale markets.

Hopefully, the weather office is wrong on how low temperatures will get and how low of elevations any snow will accumulate, and the snow will fall on the mountains where a healthy snow pack is always welcome.

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