What does this Mild Winter mean for my Garden?!

image from Geophysical  Institute at the University of Alaska, Matthew Hodges
image from Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Matthew Hodges

First off, why is this happening?   Thoughts on La Nina, active solar storm season, and global warming all come to one’s mind.  With solar storms come beautiful auroras, that were highly visible last Tues in some parts of the world (image above is Matthew Hodges‘).

Now, what can one do for the garden?  Well, mostly we let nature take it’s course.  Most plants are in tune with the length of the daylight, but some might start coming alive with the warm weather. 

Here’s a checklist for the best a gardener can do to help.

  • If bulbs are heaved out of the ground with the freezing and unfreezing of the ground, gently push them under the soil line.  Careful to not push them too deep.  Just enough to help them go dormant again if the temperature drops.
  • If leaves are sprouting and the temperature drops, the plant may have some frost damage; but it’s nothing that will kill the plant.  Once Spring temps stay stable, a little pruning and you’ll be good as gold.
  • If plants are spouting and a drop in temperature is forecast, consider mulching.  The warmth from the ground should help the plants survive the cool temps.  Just remember to remove the mulch from the plant in “real” Spring.

All in all, mother nature will survive.

What is the downside of this mild winter?

  • More pests, lets hope this doesn’t spread the Asian beetle.
  • Fruit trees may set blooms too early, and the trees may not get the cold they need to produce quality fruits.
  • May have more invasive weeds that didn’t get their “winter kill.”
  • More fungal plant diseases this growing season.
  • If you threw seeds that need stratification (a period of cold needed for germination), you may not see those this year.

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