Managing Premature Winter Plant Growth

The fluctuation of temperature sometimes during the winter have some gardeners worried about the health of their outdoor plants.

The most common concern seems to be about the premature flowering of shrubs and trees, along with certain perennials like peonies and spring flowering bulbs sticking their heads out of the soil a little early.

Let's say right off the bat that what was just mentioned about early effects on your outside plants shouldn't concern even the most ardent gardener.

Any time the weather changes to warmer temperatures in the winter, it triggers the plants to think spring is just around the corner. They start their spring growth or flowering a bit early. It won't kill or harm the plants during the regular growing season. However, the plant can be injured if you attempt to interfere with the premature growth, say tulips poking their heads out of your flower bed.

Don't even think about covering up the new emerging shoots with soil or mulch. When you do this, you will expose the new shoots to unnatural surroundings and the blades or leaves will rot. The best thing to do with your plants giving you a spring look is actually nothing.

As for your shrubs or fruit trees like apples and peaches that start to bloom, it also won't harm the trees health or production. If they flower prematurely, you just won't get that particular fruit this summer.

Keep in mind that a fruit tree usually produces way more blooms and resulting fruit than than the tree can support, so it can stand to be thinned the mother nature way.

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