First Frost Dates

For gardeners, paying attention to the local weather and making the proper adjustments can mean the difference between a so-so garden and a great one. Will it rain? How much rain has fallen? How hot or cold will it be? Will there be frost?

The answers to those questions are important, and being prepared for the corresponding conditions is even more important, especially when it comes to frost.

In the spring, gardeners often refer to it as “the last frost.” It often signals when it is safe to begin planting, and for some it means that winter has passed. However, unexpected frosts can be a hassle, and plants that are blooming or annuals that were planted to early need to be covered in order to prevent them from being severely damaged.

In the fall, dealing with frost is a different matter. Unlike spring, once frost begins to form in the fall, it usually signals the end of gardening activity. The growing season is over, and plants are dying and preparing themselves for winter’s cold. Fall frost is referred to as “the first frost,” since that first one signals the end of the growing season and the start of cold weather. In other words, if you haven’t finished all your fall gardening chores by the time the frost rolls around, then it is probably too late! Fall gardening activities such as dividing perennials, planting and digging up bulbs, planting trees and shrubs, planting grass seed, protecting plants from cold, and bringing container plants indoors all need to be done – or timed – in accordance with that first frost in the fall.

The following are average frost dates for various cities in the U.S. Use this as a guide to be prepared for that first frost, and get those gardening activities completed before this date. Everything you need to be prepared can be found on this site. And like previously stated, being prepared for weather conditions can mean the difference between a so-so garden and a great one.

City, State First Frost Date
Atlanta, GA 11/18
Baltimore, MD 11/17
Bismark, ND 9/24
Boise, ID 10/17
Boston, MA 11/8
Buffalo, NY 10/25
Caribou, ME 9/21
Charleston, SC 12/10
Charleston, WV 12/28
Cheyenne, WY 9/27
Chicago, IL 10/28
Cincinnati, OH 10/25
Cleveland, OH 10/20
Columbia, SC 11/20
Dallas, TX 11/17
Denver, CO 10/14
Detroit, MI 10/20
Houston, TX 12/11
Indianapolis, IN 10/27
Jacksonville, FL 12/16
Kansas City, MO 10/30
Las Vegas, NV 11/10
Milwaukee, WI 10/25
Minneapolis, MN 10/13
Mobile, AL 12/12
Nashville, TN 11/7
Newark, NJ 11/8
New Orleans, LA 12/9
New York, NY 11/12
Oklahoma City, OK 11/7
Philadelphia, PA 11/17
Phoenix, AZ 12/11
Pittsburgh, PA 10/23
Pittsfield, MA 9/27
Portland, OR 12/1
Providence, RI 10/27
Raleigh, NC 11/16
Richmond, VA 11/8
Sacramento, CA 12/10
Salt Lake City, UT 10/22
Seattle, WA 12/1
St. Lois, MO 11/8
Washington, DC 10/28