The Q&A Archives: Effects Of A Mild Winter

Question: Due to the mild winter we've had this year, many of my perennials are already showing new growth. My climbing roses are putting out new leaves, the Bradford pear is budding, bulbs are already sending up their leaves. What can be done to protect them from possible damage by seasonable weather during the remainder of the winter and early spring months? I'm afraid of losing many of these "early risers."

Answer: Don't worry about your bulbs. They'll only grow as far as the weather lets them. It's been a mild winter so they're ready to go, but even if the growth point gets nipped by a freeze, the flower bud is still protected under the soil. You can mulch the bulbs with a 4-6 layer of hay if you're really concerned, but I wouldn't worry about it. There is really nothing you can do about the Bradford Pear or the rose's new growth except cross your fingers. I have the climber 'Dream Weaver' and it is doing exactly the same thing yours is. I also have a Bradford Pear...ditto. Hopefully, the weather will sit at a standstill as far as warmth goes and they won't progress any further. There may very well be a severe cold snap. There was in my area (zone 6) last year and it did result in reduced bloom on my Bradford Pear. My climber did not seem to be affected at all. I simply pruned out the burned portions and it put on new growth. I really do understand how concerned youare, I have a beautiful show of Iberis 'Candytuft' going on in my garden right now and the Daylily and Iris are really going at it as well!

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