TOO early.

arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)February 22, 2009

I have to say I'm rather concerned that many plants are breaking to spring TOO early. Last week I went to Little Rock, and noticed that elms were in flower, which didn't concern me that much, even if they are early, but there was also red maple beginning to flower as well in mid-Feb which is early, even saw some daffodils in flower.

Well now around Fayetteville today, I see the normal Crocus, and a few other things. But I see some red maples in flower (normal is March sometime), we have hyacinths that have been trying to come up for weeks, clover beginning to come up, daffodils are coming up, we have a jackmanii beginning to grow (1+ inch long shoots), knock-out roses are beginning to grow, honey suckle beginning to grow, hydrangea budding just above the ground, quince that flower buds are showing color and are a couple days from flowering, and the frogs have been going for a while now. Those are just the things I have found without looking very hard. One of our sugar maples even has elongated terminal buds. ALL with a week of February to go. We got to 18F just two mornings ago. I'm very concerned that everything is going to get hit HARD AGAIN. We got the April freeze a couple years ago (along with light snow), when it went all the way down to 12 degrees at my home (live in a valley), and then last year got to 21F with ice fog again in April.

I'm sure the number of warm days have not helped. It's been much wider than normal temp swings back and forth all winter. Probable why some things are breaking dormancy early, but I had much rather they be late and less likely to freeze.

Not really a major point to this post other than to kinda throw a tantrum about it I guess. :-)

Hope it works out for all of you.


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I am worried here too. I don't know if we are hurt yet or not. I have daffs up about 4 inches and see some daylilies peeping through. So far the apricot tree isn't showing any budding signs so I have my fingers crossed.

I don't like warm weather in late winter at all.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 5:10AM
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Our poor trees have been through too much lately. Hope we don't get a late freeze again. I expect to start hearing stories about pest/disease problems increasing for our trees that survived. They're just weaker and lots of open wounds. They could use a few years of good weather to recover.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 7:20AM
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proudgm_03(6 MO)

I am worried also about how quickly things are starting. I have heard people say that Mother Nature knows when things are supposed to sprout/grow etc. But sometimes MN plays dirty tricks!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:23AM
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I guess I feel like I have enough to worry about without having to worry about nature being "nature". I do believe that plants are genetically coded to grow when all signals say go.

It's the unpredictability of nature that makes gardeners appreciate when things go well.

What I worry about are humans who still don't believe the earth is heating up or that humans absolutely have the power to slow it down.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:36AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I am not worried about a freeze, but I think we have changed the climate. I am afraid we are in for more weird weather. Last summer May 10 we had the biggest tornado ever (in my experience here) in Newton county. I don't live in Newton county but I was hiding in a hall 9 miles from where it hit and it crossed my road to Joplin. The thing was a mile wide. We have always had tornadoes around here but they were in a narrow strip; this thing was huge. The ice storms were like nothing I have ever seen and the late freeze that killed the leaves of native trees and blackberries was also unusual. Winter used to be colder.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:10AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

Does it make you wonder--if man has caused nature to do everything that we're seeing--or if this has all been predicted thousands of years ago?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:24AM
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noxtra(SW MO. 6)

I was a beekeeper in years past and have seen the maples bloom as early as Feb 7th here just south of Springfield. The bees were always out gathering pollen early from the maples and elms.

We experienced a Tornado on January 7th last year that damaged 4 of our greenhouses....something new every year.

It is time to see lots of things at least beginning to break dormancy. We have daylilies showing a little green. Same with daffs, The ground has been on the dry side this year and we have had above average sunshine.....all that equals warmer soil temps. Yippee!!

The Easter freeze of "07" was a bad memory and certainly an anomoly but I do not expect that happening again soon. In years past we have had a wide range of conditions during the early growing, wet, cold, cloudy, late frosts, etc. We are growers and it doesn't matter what nature throws at us we keep going.

Bring on Spring!!


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:20PM
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I have noticed the silver maples in south Springfield with very swollen buds, just busting to break open. We are going to the library later today, so will look along the route to see if any of them have "popped!"

In previous years I was the grounds supervisor of a large hospital here in Springfield that was known for its annual tulip display. I remember one year we had all of the beds showing the tips of all the tulips in mid-January. There was a lot of cold weather still to come. Casual observers said that they were going to get killed before spring. However, they just sat there, growing just a bit more, and waited till Easter when they were up and bloomed!

Hint: If you want a tulip that will always bloom on Easter weekend, plant Darwins. I have no idea how this tulip knows it is Easter, as Easter changes each year as to where it appears on the calendar, but they do. In 22 years of observing them, not once have they not bloomed on Easter weekend. Darwin tulips and Easter. Think about the irony of that for a bit.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cherty Rock Farmer weblog

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:42PM
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In 22 years of observing them, not once have they not bloomed on Easter weekend. Darwin tulips and Easter. Think about the irony of that for a bit.

That a fabulous insight rabone. Thank you for sharing that wonderful information!

Yes, many plants are flexible and acclimate. If they're coming up and surviving in fluctuating temps, many below freezing, they're acclimating to low temps on a regular basis. Now hostas... not so much!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 1:03PM
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pauln(z7B Arkansas)

My experience has led me to believe that the natives fare better than exotics when it comes to early spring. I'm not suprised to see elms and maples blooming right now. They can take a cold hard freeze and come out fine and dandy. Same for forsythia, quince, and daffodils, although they're not native. I did see some saucer magnolias yesterday (Little Rock), and they seem to get all brown and ugly 2 out of every 3 years. I'm hoping the stinkin pears will all bloom and get frozen out. A year without nose nasty invasives being spread would help.

April 2007 hopefully was the exception. Every tree was a couple of weeks ahead of schedule and got totally defoliated just north of me and on up. The only things I noticed frozen that year here in Little Rock were crepe myrtles and green briars. Everything seemed to bounce back fairly quickly, but we had no fruits that year. A year without peaches can be a very long one.

It seems like every year when the daffodils are blooming we get a snow. The flowers don't die, but they hand their little heads in shame.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:21PM
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Here is a picture of those silver maples I talked about.
Give them 5 days of sunshine and they will be in leaf.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 4:00PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Something I didn't make clear enough is that I'm not as concerned about what is beginning to grow now, as they are all rather resilient to cold. I'm actually more concerned with those that begin to grow in the intermediate. Those that aren't as resistant to the cold. Examples would be Ginkgo, Japanese Maples, Redbuds among others. Those have been hit repeatedly at my location, and since so much is early, then that makes me very concerned that the more sensitive stuff will be early as well, and therefore at greater risk for the third year in a row. We have lost several plants (including a Emperor 1 Japanese Maple that was purported to be a couple weeks later in the spring) due to this the last two years. It's to the point that I look for plants that break bud as late as possible. I don't like nurturing them through the first summer (new construction our third year here), only to watch them die the follow spring just as they begin to show the results of the previous years care. Not my ideal of fun.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 7:08PM
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