Cold Nights Still Upon Us: Typical Last Freeze In Kentucky

With the warm weather recently, you may be itching to get out in the garden and plant, but not so fast! Freezes occur well into April and even May.

What You Need To Know

  • A freeze is expected Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights
  • The average last freeze is in April
  • The latest freeze on record is in May
  • Wait to plant until early May

With the warmer days, the growing season has begun in Kentucky. However, nights still get cold this time of year. Freeze Warnings are posted for Wednesday night and Thursday night for sub-freezing temperatures.

Certain temperatures can cause different damage to plants. The colder the temperature, the more harm is done.

Critical Temperatures

  • Light freeze: 29 to 32° – tender plants are killed
  • Moderate freeze: 25 to 28° – destructive to most vegetation
  • Hard freeze: <25° – severe damage to most plants

The average last spring freeze in Kentucky is at some point in April.

Frost occurs when temperatures are 32 degrees or lower, but sometimes frost can form with temperatures just above freezing. This is because cold air settles close to the ground and can be slightly colder than the air just a few feet above the surface.

Topography and microclimates can also play a role in frost formation as well. Areas protected near your home or even under a tree can trap just enough warm air where frost doesn’t form.

The latest freeze on record is as late as May.

When To Plant

May is usually a safe time to begin planting in Kentucky. 

Plant the summer annuals during the month of May after the significant threat of a freeze has passed. This is also the time to begin your herb and vegetable garden and even start decorating with heat-loving tropicals to spice up your patio.

Odds are in your favor to wait until May to start digging in the garden because there is only a 10% chance of a freeze in late April for most of the Commonwealth.