A QUICK ANSWER IS: IT DEPENDS
I feel bad for those of you who like the cold and snow. Our long-range forecast is for our winter temperatures to remain above normal, on average, with the coldest periods to be in mid – and late January and early and late February. At the same time, our precipitation is expected to be above normal with below-normal snowfall.
So, what about our plants? Will they stay dormant and not be harmed? We have had winters like this one in past years. It is not good for our plants to be in the 60’s or 70’s degrees for an extended period of time and then have a cold, wintry blast. This extended forecast for 2020 does not indicate any extreme warm trends. So, I think our plants should be fine to weather this warm winter trend. Most plants will not be fooled and will continue to stay dormant for the winter. It is just in their physiological makeup. Most plants will refuse to come back into growth no matter how warm we remain this winter.
Most importantly is that we do not want to panic and overreact. There is no doubt that Mother Nature is being kind to us so far with the first part of January. The best-case scenario is a gradual return to more normal winter temperatures.
To go along with this start to winter, it is nice and beneficial for our plants with having needed rainfall to go along these mild temperatures.
I haven’t noticed this to occur yet but I would not be surprised if we see some of our spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, etc. to start poking out of the ground soon. Like I said earlier – don’t panic. The flower buds are still protected. DO NOT GO OUT AND ADD EXTRA MULCH ON TOP OF THE BULBS!! Doing extra mulch can do more harm than good.
As I am thinking this warm winter through my head, one negative to a mild winter could be that plant pests and diseases are no longer being held in check with colder temperatures and could become out of synch and become more active earlier than what our gardening calendar states. We just need to be ready to react earlier if this is the case.
Here is what we need to happen: our temperatures become more normal for the winter in order to keep our plants in their dormant state and to keep pests and diseases from becoming active earlier than normal. Personally, I am loving some of these warmer days of January. I like getting outside and enjoying nature and having fun playing with my grandkids. Not such bad news after all.
HAPPY WINTER AND HAPPY GARDENING!!!!