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Wacky Winter Weather Can Affect our Plants

Dandelion weeds in January, big fluctuations in temperatures, late-dropping leaves, and blooms in winter! How can we help maintain a healthy landscape?

Some may not believe in global warming, but it sure feels like it with all the warm temperatures. At least we are getting lots of rain to make up for a dry 2016. It would be a difficult winter if it was cold, the snow volume would be unbelievable. With the changes in the climate, it is effecting our plants. I saw a dandelion weed in bloom last week and have seen Daffodil bulbs popping through the mulch. Leaves just never seemed to want to drop last year too. When it is warm in winter, you may be anxious to go clean up the yard. That is good for the turf, because smothered grass under leaves can wilt (snow mold disease) or suffocate and die. BUT, in the beds the leaves protect the emerging bulbs, tender plants (roses), and others from the fluctuating temperatures. We saw it early in January where the temperatures were 60 one day and 20’s the next. We can put a jacket on, but the plants just freak out!

The large fluctuations in temperature causes cell damage and branch dieback, depending upon location and severity of the weather. Winter winds can have a huge influence as well. So- keep that natural winter blanket of leaves over your planting beds. We just need to wait until at least March to start the clean-up process. DON’T mulch, I have seen a couple “landscapers” out mulching already! Mulch at this point will enhance rotting of perennials, fluctuate soil temperatures even more, and just does not allow the soil to breathe. Aesthetically, the wet spring always seems to wash away color and any melting snow also seems to bleach out the mulch. So the mulch color, the reason most people put it down is quickly lost. No opinions here, ha. :)

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