Ask the Expert – Should I Be Concerned About the Mild Winter Weather?

It’s early January – but the warmer-than-average temperatures we have been enjoying have us feeling like spring is right around the corner. It’s not! The official start to spring is not until March 20 and we are sure to get hit with cold Midwest temperatures before winter ends.

The National Weather Service and the U.S. Climate Prediction center both say the odds are favoring warmer-than-average temperatures in the area through January 20. While no one is complaining about above-freezing temperatures, it does make you wonder when we do get hit with cold winter temperatures, how will that impact our plants and trees in the spring.

We have received calls from concerned homeowners who have seen bulb plants like hyacinth and crocus popping up. Our advice – don’t panic! Early spring bulb plants are hearty, and they will be fine, even if we do experience extreme cold and snow in the coming weeks. The flowers on these plants require several weeks of warm weather before they will begin to bloom.

early bulbs

We have seen many homeowners raking leaves from yards and beds already. Stop! It may feel like spring is right around the corner, but it isn’t! In late November we cautioned you to leave the leaves in your flower beds so they will serve as a blanket for your plants. It’s too early in the season to expect that we are done with frigid temperatures – it is the Midwest after all. Leave the leaves and mulch on the lawn and in the beds until spring is here. Allow them time to naturally decay and nourish the soil and plants.

So for now, enjoy it while you can because we know the cold will return! Take advantage of the milder temperatures to enjoy an outdoor walk or leisurely stroll from the car to the door. Don’t worry about the lawn care for now – there will be plenty of time in spring for winter clean-up!