Why cold weather is necessary for some plantings
Although we often welcome the unseasonably warm spells that have been popping up for the past few winters, these large swings in temperatures can have dire consequences for your yard’s plantings. Vernalization is the process by which certain flowering plants such as daffodils, crocus, and tulips, as well as apple and peach fruit trees go dormant in the winter’s cold temperatures to prepare for the following spring. Depending on the variety, these plants require a certain number of days of exposure to this cold climate to remain healthy. If the cycle is disrupted for prolonged periods of unseasonably warm weather, they may not fully flower come spring or produce an abundant crop of fruit. If this trend warming continues, Gerbert & Sons can recommend plant varieties that do not require this period of vernalization.
The growing concern of “false spring”
As our winter climate continues to change with unusually early warming, “false spring” is becoming more common in our region. While we look forward to the end of winter’s cold days, it is not in the best interest of our ecosystem if this occurs too soon, as it increases the chance that many plants will prematurely emerge from their winter dormancy with early blooms, leaves and spouts. These are then highly vulnerable to an abrupt hard freeze or frost that often follows the unseasonable warm spell, damaging the open flowers or even killing these plants. Higher temperatures also reduce the amount of snow accumulation. A layer of snow can insulate the plants, keeping them at a more even temperature and protected from sudden freezes, and preventing the effects of a false spring should the temperature suddenly rise.
For more information on these and other topics, contact the experts at Gerbert & Sons.