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Approaching spring raises hopes for nurseries
Larry Kennemore, one of the owners of Kennemore Wholesale Nursery Inc., looks over some of the plants that have been maintained through winter inside of the south Forsyth nursery’s many greenhouses. After a long, cold winter, many residents are ready to get out in their yards. - photo by Crystal Ledford

SOUTH FORSYTH — Recent temperatures climbing above 70 degrees have many wishing spring would fully arrive.

But probably no one wants that more than those who work in the landscaping and plant nursery business.

“We’re coming off a cold, hard winter,” said Andy Kennemore, who along with father Larry owns Kennemore Wholesale Nursery Inc. on Union Hill Road in south Forsyth. “It’s been pretty rough on everybody [in this business].”

Justin Fulkerson, manager of B.L. Mullinax Landscaping & Shrubbery Inc. on Peachtree Parkway, also in south Forsyth, agreed.

“It’s been a rough three months,” he said. “You’re still not sure what some people are going to have lost with all that cold. Two degrees is awfully cold.”

The Kennemores said they’re seeing some customers evaluating the winter damage.

“We’re getting a lot of them who are wanting to replace stuff that I’m trying to tell them just to wait until spring comes because it may still be alive … they should wait and see,” Andy Kennemore said.

“Just don’t get too excited already and jump the gun to replace something that may not be dead.”

Both businessmen said the warm temperatures of last weekend and early this week have their customers ready for winter to finally be over.

“We have been having people come in the past week or two,” Andy Kennemore said. “People are starting to get a little antsy.”

Added Fulkerson: “They’re starting to get out and look to get some ideas, which is a good thing. They get cabin fever and want to get out and start planting.”

Fulkerson and the Kennemores said early March is a good time for some planting, though not all of it.

“A lot of people don’t realize how good a planting time it is when things are dormant [or not blooming],” Fulkerson said.

Larry Kennemore added that it’s a good time for evergreens, which can be planted anytime throughout the year, fruit trees and most bushes and shrubbery.

Pansies and some other flowers that also prefer cooler temperatures can be planted as well.

But, Andy Kennemore added, home gardeners need to hold off a little longer on some plants.

“We had somebody in here on Saturday wanting to get bedding plants, annuals, already,” he said. “And I said, ‘No, you still have about another month to go for that.’”

Fulkerson advised caution since north Georgia weather can be devious.

“Anybody who’s lived here at least 10 or 15 years knows that we always get a hard freeze or at least a frost sometime around the first of April,” he said.

Those conditions can be damaging for more tender plants. But the Kennemores noted that they don’t have to be devastating.

They recommend placing old bed sheets, blankets or opaque plastic over plants before a frost or freeze to help keep them safe. Clear plastic should be avoided since it will let too much heat in during the day.

“Or if you can wash [the frost] off with the water hose before the sun comes up, that will protect the plant too,” Andy Kennemore said. “What happens is, the frost acts like a magnifying glass and when the sun comes, it’ll burn the plant if it’s not washed off.”

All the businessmen hope spring arrives soon and stays so that customers won’t have to worry about such actions.

“We’re definitely ready for spring and looking forward to some warmer weather,” Fulkerson said.

Added Andy Kennemore: “I just said the other day that spring couldn’t come fast enough.

“I think we’re all ready for some springtime.”