Warm Winters may impact Next Year’s Gardens
After last year’s cold blast, this years’ slow emergence into winter is welcomed. However; did you know that milder winters might be detrimental for plant growth?
Cold Weather has a Purpose
Native species like beech, maple and oak, require a cold period to rest. As a direct result, warmer winters may result in these trees budding later. In fact researcher, Julia Laube, Technische Universitaet Muenchen found an ample ‘cold sleep’ is what plants need in order to wake up on time in the spring. The cold weather also helps control invasive pests and diseases. Warmer winters mean more pests, weeds and diseases for farmers and gardeners to cope with.
Shifting weather patterns, from milder spring like temps to below freezing, can have a dramatic impact on the amount of flowers and leaves we see in the spring. In fact, extreme warm weather may result in plants beginning to sprout early. The challenge with this is that once the cold spell hits, those buds will wither and die. The end result: stressed out plants and less buds in the spring.
On a positive note, lawns thrive in milder early winters, helping establish strong root systems. However; fluctuating temperatures can result in top growth damage. To protect your lawn, avoid walking on it in the winter season and fill in bare patches in the spring.
How can a gardener prepare?
In the winter season, add in additional protection for your trees and shrubs, including burlap and mulch to help buffer the dramatic changes in the weather.
Come next spring, there are some proactive steps that you can take to help your own garden adapt to the fluctuating climate.
- Enhance your lawn and garden with organic matter, including compost and manure, to provide your plants with a healthy start.
- To help fight the increase of pests, add beneficial insects like ladybugs and nematodes to your regular gardening routine.
- Add more plants to your garden!
Perhaps one of the best preventative strategies that gardeners can do is to add more plants to their gardens. Adding native plants and trees to your garden increases carbon storage and reduces the overall impact of climate change. Overall, pay attention to the weather patterns and adapt your gardening routine accordingly.