Warm Weather And Early Budding – Should I Advance My Planting Cycle?

Q: We have had a very warm 2017 so far and many plants are budding and flowering early. It seems to me that we are two or three weeks ahead of normal. Should I advance my normal garden planting cycle?

A: Do you remember the freeze of 2007? An extremely warm March was followed by a two-day dip to 27 degrees on April 6 & 7. Many plants had made substantial new growth before the cold snap. After the cold, many shrubs and trees, including crapemyrtle, Japanese maple, butterfly bush, hydrangea, loropetalum, canna, and even ‘Burford’ holly had frozen leaves. While not permanently damaging, the freeze reminded us that some weather vagaries are not predicted. Even though soil temperatures are warmer than normal, I don’t think they warrant moving up your planting. Wait until late March before you gamble.

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