A light dusting of snow flurries fell on Sun City and the Valley early Thursday afternoon, and with freezing temperatures predicted for Friday morning, local homeowners are working to protect their plants from frost.
The rare sight of snow on Thursday came just after noon in Sun City, ranging from just a few flakes to a light dusting that actually stuck to the ground for about one minute before melting away.
The snowfall didn’t last for a very long, and disappeared when the sun peaked out from behind a cloud.
Temperatures hovered in the high 40s Thursday, but the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for the Phoenix area for the evening into Friday morning, and temperatures could dip below 30 degrees.
Frank and Sheila Nerone were outside covering their plants in preparation for the freeze when the snow fluttered down.
The Nerones, who are member’s of the Sun City Garden Club, use both freeze cloths and old sheets or blankets along with clothespins or twist ties to cover their variety of plants, ranging from rosebushes to pepper plants and basil.
“Our sunflowers just opened up,” Frank Nerone said. Sheila made sure to cover the new growth on the sunflowers and other plants. The Nerones will also use the same cloths to cover the plants in the summer when it gets too hot out.
When covering your plants, cloth is the ideal material, not plastic because it doesn’t insulate as well.
“I think one thing you have to be careful of is that if you use plastic, you have to get it off the next day,” said John Hugill, a fellow member of the Garden Club. Hugill explained that plastic can burn the plants if left on too long.
More mature plants, like the large citrus trees Hugill has in his yard, can take the cold.
“If it’s a young tree, I think you should cover it,” Hugill said because the new growth and tips will freeze easily.
Hugill draped the top of his herb and vegetable planters filled with tomato plants, garlic, and rutabaga with a blanket Thursday afternoon, but said he would add a skirt that would cover the sides later, as well as use a sheet to cover the cacti in his front yard.
Experts also suggest taking potted plants inside or placing them in a more sheltered spot for the night.