Unseasonable temps bring premature blooms more vulnerable to damage

Unseasonable temps bring premature blooms more vulnerable to damage

You would not know it was January by walking outside this weekend and neither do some plants that are blooming out of season.

With afternoon highs well into the 70s to near 80°, it has actually felt more like May.

In fact, the high in Shreveport on Thursday was 81 degrees, a new record high for today, January 12. The old record was 78 in 2000.

And it's going to stay warm through the weekend.

With temperatures like these, some plants don't know it's not actually Spring just yet.

With such warm weather, some plants will have new growth even in the winter. But it can also make them vulnerable to damage.

"What happens when you have unseasonably warm weather is the plant tends to be more tender. If it stays that way for a long time and we get cold again, then the plants aren't hardened off to it," said Mark Walton, co-owner Garrison's Greenwood Gardens Nursery.

If your plants aren't used to the colder weather, they'll be more likely to be damaged during the next cold snap. Eventually, it's going to get cold again. The average date of Shreveport's last freeze in spring is March 10.

Walton says one of the most important things to do to protect your plants is to make sure they have plenty of water and mulch around them.

"Mulch is going to act as an insulator. Many times we do have damage on the top part of the plant. We can [cut] that out. If we have a good root system then it will come right back from that."

One common mistake many gardeners make is covering their plants too much.

"We try to tell our customers not to cover their hardy trees and shrubs because we like to have our plants harden off eventually. We only like to cover them in the most extreme circumstances," said Walton, such as when temperatures tumble into the teens.

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