April 06, 2018 2:45PM
“It’s going to be a hard hit,” said Walker. “Things that have already bloomed are going to be affected, including some of our trees. Our hope is that the tulips that haven’t yet bloomed will still provide quite a show in the coming weeks.”
Weather is always a factor in Walker’s line of work, but this year’s temperature swings are placing additional stress on the university’s landscaping team.
“This is very unusual,” said Walker. “A few years ago we had snow as late as May 5, but it was never this cold this late. We’ve actually already started mowing is some places, so to have the bottom drop out of the thermometer is very strange. But then again, it IS Kansas.”
While the scale of Pittsburg State’s operation will make it difficult to protect every plant, Walker does have tips for homeowners who may have their own tulips blooming, or who have already planted vegetation.
“If you have the ability, cover them with a sheet or tarp,” said Walker. “Make certain they’re protected from the wind if possible. You can also cover them with a layer of straw. Just make certain that when the weather warms up again, you remove your protective coverings so that the plants will continue to thrive.”
The good news for fans of Pittsburg State’s tulips is that tonight’s hard freeze will not have a long-term impact on future tulip shows.
“We switch out plantings in nearly every tulip bed, every year,” said Walker. “So no matter how cold it gets tonight, it won’t affect next year’s show. They’ll (the tulips) be back and as beautiful as ever.”