Frost Dates: First and last frost dates for Amherst, New York

How to read these charts for the spring
As the growing season approaches, the days get longer, the weather begins to warm up, and the nights start being less cold. You're still getting frost, but the chance of nightly frosts gets less and less with each passing day. Eventually, the frost stops, and this is when your tender plants are fully safe. So, how do you plan for this? The probabilities on this page help you assess your risk of frost on any given day.

What's a safe temperature for tender plants? When the nightly temperature falls, frost can form, even above 32°, because the air is colder high above the ground and the frost can form up there and then fall down onto your garden and do some damage, even if it's 36° on the ground. So many factors come into play, including wind, concrete, houses, trees and other structures, etc etc etc. Because of all this, you might want to consider 36° as "the danger zone".

In your average springtime, you have a 90% chance that there will be no 36° nights by May 22. In other words, you can pretty much count on being safe from frost by that day. But we want to get those tomatoes in the ground as soon as possible, right? We see that there's still an 80% chance of 36° on May 1, so we don't dare plant that early. We wait a few days and by May 9 we are at the 50/50 point. At this point, we are close and we can start watching the weather forecast. If the upcoming week's forecast doesn't show below 40°, then it's probably okay to risk planting out your plants. If conditions change and a surprise frost does threaten, there's always things you can do to protect plants from frost.

In the Spring
Temperature 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
Last 16° Mar 31 Mar 27 Mar 24 Mar 22 Mar 19 Mar 17 Mar 15 Mar 12 Mar 8
Last 20° Apr 6 Apr 2 Mar 30 Mar 28 Mar 26 Mar 24 Mar 22 Mar 19 Mar 15
Last 24° Apr 16 Apr 12 Apr 9 Apr 6 Apr 4 Apr 1 Mar 29 Mar 26 Mar 22
Last 28° Apr 24 Apr 20 Apr 18 Apr 16 Apr 14 Apr 12 Apr 9 Apr 7 Apr 3
Last 32° May 6 May 2 Apr 29 Apr 26 Apr 24 Apr 22 Apr 19 Apr 16 Apr 12
Last 36° May 22 May 18 May 14 May 12 May 9 May 7 May 4 May 1 Apr 26

How to read these charts for the fall
As your growing season comes to an end, the nightly temperatures for Amherst, New York start to go down, and therefore every day that goes by increases the chance that you'll get frost. Your risk of frost really begins around October 5, and by October 28 you're almost certain to have received at least one frost event.

The charts on this page show the probabilities of receiving a certain temperature on a certain day. Some examples that might help:

  1. You have a small 20% chance of getting 32° by October 10.
  2. There is a 50% chance of being hit by a 32° frost starting around October 19
  3. You have a 80% chance of seeing 32° by October 28
  4. Said another way, you have a 1 in 5 chance at making it to that day without a 32° night.
In the Fall
Temperature 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
First 16° Nov 23 Nov 27 Dec 1 Dec 4 Dec 7 Dec 9 Dec 12 Dec 16 Dec 21
First 20° Nov 14 Nov 18 Nov 22 Nov 25 Nov 28 Dec 1 Dec 4 Dec 7 Dec 12
First 24° Oct 31 Nov 5 Nov 9 Nov 12 Nov 15 Nov 18 Nov 21 Nov 25 Nov 30
First 28° Oct 19 Oct 24 Oct 27 Oct 30 Nov 2 Nov 5 Nov 8 Nov 11 Nov 16
First 32° Oct 5 Oct 10 Oct 13 Oct 16 Oct 19 Oct 22 Oct 24 Oct 28 Nov 2
First 36° Sep 22 Sep 26 Sep 30 Oct 2 Oct 5 Oct 8 Oct 10 Oct 14 Oct 18

Now that you know your frost dates, use our Garden Planting Calendar for Amherst, New York to know when to sow and transplant your various vegetable plants!

Data is provided by the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Photography by Garden.org member TBGDN.

Sponsored by Victory Seed Company
Victory Seed Company The Victory Seed Company is family owned and operated, working to help fellow gardeners succeed by selling popular vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Since the 1990s they have been heavily involved with the preservation of rare, open-pollinated, heirloom seeds. Visit them at www.VictorySeeds.com.
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