Early spring poses some challenges to gardenersSpring is arriving early this year, and one Wisconsin horticulturist says that's not a good thing.
By: By Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Spring is arriving early this year, and one Wisconsin horticulturist says that's not a good thing. This is a vulnerable month for plants and shrubs and gardeners should be wary.
At the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, many perennials are already in bloom.
"Out in the gardens we saw, for instance, snow drops blooming as early as four weeks ago which would be about seven weeks earlier than we've ever seen them bloom here,” said Horticulture Director Mark Dwyer.
And as exciting as it is -- for gardeners especially -- to see plants come to life in spring, Dwyer says that he would actually prefer at this point that the gardens still be covered in snow.
"You know a true winter has a lot of importance out in the gardens in terms of keeping plants dormant, keeping roots secure in frozen soil, the cold temperatures will also help regulation of some of the insect populations that become problems in our gardens the following summer," he said.
Dwyer says his real concern with a warm March is that anything could happen weather wise and a cold snap could be detrimental to emerging plants.
"We're keeping mulch over many of our tender plants that are coming up early because of the fear of some real severe frost causing tissue damage,” Dwyer said. “We'd love to see the ground stay frozen through most of March and that's not going to be the case at this point so we are keeping an eye on things out in the gardens as the weather patterns will dictate our activities."
Dwyer says gardeners should take advantage of the warmer weather to prune and do spring cleanup, but he says it is not safe yet to plant.