University of Maryland Extension University of Maryland

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Spring Frost/Freeze Dates in Maryland

Can you tell me the date of the last frost in my area?

We know spring is in the air when this question begins to be asked by homeowners who contact the HGIC consultants.  While this date can fluctuate from year to year the following Freeze/Frost Data provides a fairly accurate guide to help predicate this very important date.  Data is gathered at various weather stations across the state that is averaged and compiled into one list that provides the probability of a frost on various dates. The chart lists 5 dates and indicates the chance of a frost on that particular date. For example, at the Baltimore Airport on April 26th there is still a 10% chance of a frost one year out of 10. 

Why is the last frost date so important to gardeners?

Much planning and effort goes into planting a vegetable and flower garden and so gardeners anticipate this date with great expectation.  The last frost date in the spring and the first frost date in the fall dictate how long your growing season will be.  Gardeners starting plants from seed indoors need to know this date so they can determine when to start the seeds.   It is very tempting to purchase bedding plants when they start to come into the nursery, but you really take a gamble if you plant them too early.  Many a new gardener has been surprised by an unexpected frost.

Keep two things in mind:

  1. The likelihood of frost will vary between landscapes in the same town or even neighborhood, due to many factors such as, changes in wind, elevation, proximity to buildings and water;
  2. Early in the season, after planting outdoors, closely monitor weather conditions using web sites, a weather radio, or newspaper and TV for reports of an unexpected frost.  If predicted be prepared to protect your tender plants.

Percent Probability Of Last 32 Degree F. Temperature Occurring On/Or After Date In Spring

Western MD          
Station 10%
1 yr. in 10
33%
1 yr. in 3
50%
1 yr. in 2
67%
2 yrs. in 3
90%
9 yrs. in 10
Cumberland May 16 May 03 April 27 April 21 April 08
Hagerstown May 03 April 23 April 18 April 13 April 03
Hancock May 21 May 13 May 08 May 03 April 26
Oakland June 05 May 25 May 20 May 15 May 04
NORTH-CENTRAL MD          
Station 10%
1 yr. in 10
33%
1 yr. in 3
50%
1 yr. in 2
67%
2 yrs. in 3
90%
9 yrs. in 10
Balt. Airport April 26 April 20 April 13 April 09 March 31
Baltimore City April 11 April 01 March 26 March 20 March 10
Bel Air April 30 April 24 April 20 April 16 April 09
Clarksville May 17 May 09 May 05 May 01 April 23
Frederick April 29 April 20 April 15 April 10 April 01
Westminster May 04 April 25 April 21 April 17 April 08
Unionville May 19 May 11 May 06 May 01 April 23
SOUTHERN MD          
Station 10%
1 yr. in 10
33%
1 yr. in 3
50%
1 yr. in 2
67%
2 yrs. in 3
90%
9 yrs. in 10
College Park May 04 April 23 April 18 April 13 April 02
La Plata May 10 April 29 April 24 April 19 April 08
Upper Marlboro May 06 April 27 April 22 April 17 April 08
EASTERN SHORE          
Station 10%
1 yr. in 10
33%
1 yr. in 3
50%
1 yr. in 2
67%
2 yrs. in 3
90%
9 yrs. in 10
Cambridge April 27 April 16 April 11 April 06 March 26
Chestertown April 18 April 11 April 07 April 03 March 27
Denton April 29 April 21 April 17 April 13 April 06
Royal Oak April 12 April 05 April 02 March 30 March 23
Salisbury April 23 April 15 April 11 April 07 March 30
Snow Hill May 04 April 25 April 20 April 15 April 06

*Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture, Ag Statistics

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IET Departmentof the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2014.