Spring in February

Across the Mid-west we were experiencing significant warming over the past couple of weeks. Crocus and daffodil flowers have emerged, and we will probably start to see some early Magnolia, forsythia, and pear blossoms before we get to March. Although we welcome an early spring, this weather presents problems that could in turn, have consequences. Many of the common annual winter weeds have already flushed out new green growth and will no doubt flower and go to seed several weeks early at this rate. Removal of these weeds is crucial to ensure that they do not drop seed and multiply this coming fall. If you plan on using pre-emergent this year, it is important to not procrastinate with the application of these products. With soil temperatures rising, crabgrass and other annual summer weeds will naturally want to germinate well before the typical dates that we are accustomed to. It would be wise to apply crabgrass pre-emergent a month or so early this year, and also make it a split app as well. The most tragic consequence maybe that we might see another hard freeze and lose our beloved spring flowers, ruining the chances of fruit or berry production. Many of the flowering trees and shrubs can become victims as they have in the past, but their natural defense mechanisms can rejuvenate secondary leaves to compensate for the frostbite. Hardy plant material will recover from freeze damage, but we are in for a roller coaster of a ride until the last potential freeze date in April.