DENVER — The huge temperature drop last week could have long-lasting effects. Usually, trees and shrubs prepare for winter dormancy as temperatures drop gradually and daylight hours diminish.

Truckers descending the steep incline of Lookout Mountain are warned to slow down and go into low gear. Similarly, cooler nights and shorter day length warn plants to slow down, go into low gear and prepare for winter. They didn't get much of a warning this year. Temperatures plummeted radically fast. 

It's too early to predict what damage may have resulted. Trees and shrubs that struggle next spring may have been hurt by the sharp temperature drop.

Before the freeze, smart gardeners picked remaining vegetables and brought in tender plants for winter. They also may have taken cuttings and are rooting them on the windowsill. 

It's still possible to save summer bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus. Their bulbs were below ground and probably did not get frozen. Cut off the frosted foliage. Dig the bulbs and put them in loosely-tied plastic bags. Store them in a completely dark, cool room. It should be as cool as possible without freezing. 

Salvage what you can to avoid replacing them next year. 

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