FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The unusually warm weather northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio has experience over the past several weeks has area trees and plants confused. Stretches of 60s and 70s and the warmest February on record have caused buds and blossoms to pop out earlier than usual. At Foster Park on Wednesday, not only were there buds on trees and bushes, but even a few yellow crocuses were out. The grass is also beginning to green up. According to experts, this is all happening about 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. Weeds have also begun to spring up, which is very unusual for this time of year.
Buds and blooms wouldn’t be a problem if this warmth were to continue. But, temperatures are on track to fall for the remainder of the week. In fact by the weekend, highs may only be in the 30s with overnight lows in the 20s and even some teens in places. Ricky Kemery at the Purdue Horticulture Extension Office at IPFW says that the incoming cold is not as concerning for trees as it is for flowers. Flowers and flower buds are most susceptible to the cold. While the plant itself is not likely to die from the cold, the buds and flowers themselves will. With the cold on the way this weekend, even covering with a blanket is unlikely to be effective.
Temperatures are on track to rise above average again by the end of the month, but according to Kemery, that will likely mean an earlier and longer insect emergence, which could be detrimental to plants. Kemery recommends using crabgrass repellent immediately following the upcoming cold snap, but holding off on using herbicides until we see consistent temperatures in the 50s and 60s. He also says cold-weather plants, like spinach, may have a shorter growing season this year, but should be able to be planted by the end of March.
For more info, read the latest Home Horticulture Newsletter.