Early Flowering and Budding and early
By John Fulton
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[March 02, 2017]
Early Flowering and Budding -
Just as untimely as the crabapples blooming in December last fall,
now we have daffodil and crocus booms appearing at the end of
February and early March. Tulips arenít far behind, and Iím sure
there are some in bloom somewhere. Trees and shrubs are also
initiating bud growth.
Is this a problem? It can be from some aspects. The plants of
all types only have one set of flower buds to come out each
year. Think of why peach trees only produce an average of one in
three years in Central Illinois. Same deal Ė if flowers are
frosted or frozen, they die and produce no fruit. Some exposed
buds and twigs could also be affected by a hard freeze of
temperatures colder than 28. Colder temperatures can result in
greater amounts of damage. The resulting damage could include
branch tips and loss of flowers. The flower loss does have an
upside if it includes crabapple or sweet gum fruits not being
produced, but generally you lose the entire year of flowers and
fruit. Leaves are a different story in most cases, with new buds
generated if enough of the old ones are damaged. If entire twigs
are killed, there will be no new leaves developed of course.
What to do? On a large scale, there really isnít much you can
do. On individual flower areas, roses, or shrubs, you could try
and insulate with cardboard, leaves, blankets, rose cones, etc.
to protect plants to a certain point. A severe cold snap will
penetrate most of these temporary barriers, but they will help
with moderate frosts or freezes. You could also cut flowers to
bring inside and enjoy. Forcing cuttings of flowering shrubs
would also be a way to enjoy some of the fruits of your labor.
The other thing is to hope for moderate temperatures here on
out, and just enjoy a very early season. My fall seeded spinach
survived the winter, and is now ready to pick. So there are a
few bright spots to the early season!
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With the mention of trees and shrubs being very advanced this
spring, pruning chores on ornamental and fruit trees should be
moved up as well. So, that means as-soon-as possible this year,
and two weeks ago would have been better. Wait on roses for now,
as a cold snap will kill off end tissue and new growth. You may
have to do the cover and uncover shuffle for a while with roses
which have been protected, since those which have broken
dormancy need to be uncovered.
Russel Allen Garden Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at
the Meyers-Evans Student Center on the Lincoln College Campus.
Registration opens at 8:00 and programs begin at 9:00.
Registration is limited, and may be accomplished by registering
by calling the office at 732-8289 or online at
.illinois.edu/registration/?registrationid=16008 and the
registration cost is $10 pre-registered or $12 at the door
(space permitting). The online registration page also has the
schedule and speaker options listed.
[By JOHN FULTON, COUNTY EXTENSION
DIRECTOR SERVING LOGAN, MENARD, AND SANGAMON COUNTIES]