Chicago’s Residents and Plants Are Battling the Freezing Temperatures

As the freezing temperatures hit Chicago, plants are in serious jeopardy of being damaged.

According to ABC Chicago, city residents had to face freezing cold temperatures and wind chill as low as negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit as they walked to their jobs during the first week of 2018.

“I can’t even describe it. It’s unbearable,” said Shirley Jackson, a Chicago commuter.

Officials with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) announce that city residents should immediately call 311 if any heating issues occur inside their homes. In a week’s span, city officials said that they received more than 600 calls about cold residences.

“Don’t wait,” said Alicia Tate-Nadeau, executive director of OEMC. “If you feel like it is too cold in your apartment or your home, or your furnace is having an issue, by all means do not hesitate.”

In addition to staying as warm as possible both inside and outside of the home, it’s important that Chicagoans take better care of their plants during these freezing temperatures as well.

According to the Chicago Tribune, aboveground parts of trees and shrubs have bark to protect them from severely low temperatures, but evergreens and other plants are much more at risk.

“Depending on how long the cold goes on and how low the temperature falls, we may see a little more winter damage on evergreens than we sometimes do,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant specialist at The Morton Arboretum. “But it won’t be apparent until spring.”

One way to help prevent frost damage to plants is to lay mulch. There are two types of mulch: inorganic and organic, and this layer of mulch can help protect plants with shallow roots.

“The best way to prevent damage from freeze-thaw cycles is to make sure there’s a layer of mulch over the roots,” added Yiesla.

Homeowners can use wood chips, fallen leave, evergreen boughs, and other types of mulch to help insulate the soil and keep plants warm.