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Arkansas is a southern state known for its natural expanses and numerous bodies of water. People who live in Arkansas reap the benefits of living in the area by growing flowers and crops. That’s why it’s so important to think about what gardeners in Arkansas need to know this spring. Learn about the weather in the area, how the past winter has affected the area, and when it’s safe to plant in the dirt!
Arkansas is north of Louisiana, a state that lies on the Gulf Coast. Although Arkansas is technically inland from the coast, parts of the state are still exposed to the effects of the great body of water. The Köppen climate type throughout the state is considered humid subtropical. As a result, the state experiences hot, humid weather and mild winters throughout the summer.
Arkansas gets an average of about 50 inches of rain a year. However, not every area has the same amount of precipitation. Another thing Arkansas gardeners need to know is that the state has about 217 days of sunshine per year. That makes this condition the 12thth sunniest in the country.
Because the state has a warm climate and mild winters, gardeners can expect a growing season to last around 200 days, or just over six months. With all these sunny days, frequent rainfall, and warm weather, gardeners have all the right tools to experience successful plant growth.
The state experiences some chilly weather in January, where the average temperature in Little Rock records a high of 51°F and a low of 31°F. The state can see snow, but usually only inches outside of mountainous areas. By the beginning of spring in April, the average values shift to 23°C high and 51°F low. So, the state has a cool winter in some parts, but spring, summer and fall are filled with warm weather.
Finally, the state falls within USDA plant hardiness zones of 6 through 8. The north begins with a 6b and 7a gradient, while the middle of the state north of Little Rock has 7b and south of Little Rock mostly zone 8a. Knowing the plant hardiness zones at your location is important to choosing the right plants for your garden.
Challenging weather faced by gardeners in Arkansas
A downside to having access to great weather, soil and natural areas is that the south is prone to harsh weather. The state largely escapes the severe winter weather. Sometimes it gets very cold in the area, but not for long. The coldest place in Arkansas is Gilbert, a small town in the Ozark Mountains where the average winter temperature is 24°F.
But spring and summer can be problematic. Like many other southern areas of the United States, Arkansas is the scene of many severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Arkansas typically ranks somewhere in the top 10 states that experience the most tornadoes in any given year. In 2022, Arkansas recorded 56 tornadoes, but that was a far cry from Mississippi’s 183.
These weather phenomena are enough to destroy structures and ruin lives. Of course, a tornado would also ruin a gardener’s plants in Arkansas with high winds and associated storms.
Hurricanes and tropical storms rarely directly affect Arkansas, but their remnants do. These storms bring torrential rain and strong winds that can cut down both plants in their flowering season.
All in all, gardeners in Arkansas have a difficult weather to contend with.
How has recent weather affected crops in Arkansas?
Last winter, which began in 2022 and ended in 2023, had some surprises in store for Arkansas. A unique weather pattern hit Little Rock and other Arkansas locations in early February, bringing a storm of freezing rain and ice to the area.
Storms like this can kill plants with ease. However, the timing of the storm was definitely in winter. Most gardeners in Arkansas didn’t have to worry. The ice might affect standing plants, but bulbs and many perennials were safe.
In March, the state experienced a few bothersome storms, but nothing significant that would stun the growth of crops or prevent new ones from going into the ground.
When is the last frost dates in Arkansas?
Gardeners in Arkansas need to know when to plant their plants and flowers. A big part of this is knowing when the last time a freeze is likely. Almanacs usually list a last frost date. This is the date after which frost is not very likely. Take a look at some cities around Arkansas and see when the coast is usually clear.
|Small stone||28th March|
Remember that the dates listed here are average dates for the last frost. It is necessary to look at the weather forecast to see if there is a risk of frost in the future.
5 Easy Plants To Seed For Arkansas Gardeners (And When To Plant Them)
People who grow crops in Arkansas typically grow various flowers and vegetables. We’re going to list five of the most popular vegetables that people have in their gardens and show you when to plant them based on Little Rock’s last frost date of March 28th.
Tomatoes are a staple for gardeners in Arkansas. The best time to bring them indoors is between January 30th and February 14th. From there they should be planted outdoors by April 4th to April 25th, depending on the weather and maturity.
Depending on where the gardener is located, it can be difficult to grow corn. However, the best planting time for corn is between April 11th and May 1st.
Potatoes are hardy plants that can be started outdoors before the last frost date. Try to plant them between February 27th and March 14th.
Gardeners can start cabbage indoors between January 30 and February 13. Plants can be taken outside and planted in the ground between February 28th and March 14th.
Carrots are another vegetable that can withstand the effects of cool weather to a degree. Start them outside between February 20th and March 6th.
It is important to know when to plant the plants. However, planting dates may require a bit of flexibility. An early spring frost is always possible. Check the long-term weather forecast before planting non-cold hardy plants in the ground.
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