Winter and tree buddingThe warmer-than-normal winter has some people wondering if trees might bud prematurely and then  be damaged by colder temperatures.

According to the article, “Warm weather  can put trees in a bind” all dediduous trees require a “chilling period” before they “break bud” This chilling period will keep trees in dormancy  until temperatures consistently reach warmer temperatures in the upper 60’s.  This winter, the temperatures have approached this plateau, but hopefully we will not see such drastic turns in the temperatures.

I know some neighboors are already seeing some of their plants start to bloom with the warmer temperatures. Keep an eye on those plants and make sure you have insulated them with extra soil and mulch.

Some other items to keep in mind that are mentioned in the article, “Warm weather  can put trees in a bind”  are:

  1. Water your plants as long as the ground is not frozen.  With the lack of precipitation this winter, the ground is very hard and dry.
  2. Add a little mulch as a precaution and insulation to your plants.
  3. Remember snow cover will help insulate the ground once it comes.
  4. As far as a bumper crop of insects, Donald Lewis, an entomologist at Iowa State indicates that midwestern insects have for the most part laid their eggs for next year’s brood.

I would just add a few  more to this list:

  1. Get a soil test from your lawn or garden area. Now is a great time to check the nutrients when the soil is in a dry state. We are seeing a huge increase in soil testing this winter.
  2. Purchase a soil thermometer.  Keep an eye on the soil temperature to help you determine when the best time for planting will be this spring and to gauge the current temperature this winter.
  3. Consider adding a compost mixture to your garden or trees to help insulate the ground this winter and add valuable nutrients to the soil.

Enjoy the mild winter in the midwest and keep an eye on your plants, trees and gardens this winter.

Picture via Martin Pettit