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What effects does warmer winter have on the 2024 season?

Horticulturists, gardeners, and farmers look at the Growing Degree Days Calendar (GDD) or heat units to predict plant growth, insect issues, and disease possibilities. This calendar is based on leaf bud growth, flowers blooming, and twig extension among other plant indicators to help estimate the growth and development of certain crops and pests during the growing season. Growing degree days are a calculation using the low and high temperatures for the day. This data is compared from year to year. These stats are then measured against the growth rate of plants and how the plant growth is then correlated or mimics the life cycle of pests.


So, with the warm February we've had we are about 1 week ahead of “normal” (the average of the last 20 years) for the plant calendar. Maple trees could be budding out in 7-10 days. Which means weeds are coming! Also, we have not had long periods of extreme cold, which usually leads to more insects over-wintering and more bug populations for this upcoming growing season.


Data from the Phenology Calendar at The Ohio State University

GDD= Growing Degree Days 

Date

GDD

 

Feb. 19, 2004

7

*This was matched on Jan 31, 2024

Feb. 19, 2014

0

 

Feb. 19, 2019

14

 

Feb. 19, 2024

22

 

** Data from The Ohio State University Phenology Calendar for the 43064 zip code.


This information allows us to be proactive with preventative treatments and helps us to know when to look out for pests depending upon their life cycle. The pest’s life cycle is completely dictated by the current climate conditions. Warmer temperatures can also lead to plants overwintering that typically do not, like cannas and mums.



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