Well, spring has sprung early this year with many plants blooming a month or more earlier than usual. As I write, my garden is full of spring blooms with daffodils nodding their yellow flowers and the big fat pink and blue flowers of hyacinths sending out heady wafts of fragrance. I’ve even spotted a single cluster of flowers on the crabapple and some deciduous trees are re-leafing including the liquidambar that shades our driveway.
It is all very nice if a bit strange to see, but what does this early spring mean for our plants?
The early burst of spring is a wake-up call for gardeners.
It may mean some fruiting plants won’t fruit as well as they normally do, especially if there is a late cold burst of winter weather that damages flowers or new growth or if they haven’t had enough chilling to encourage good blooming.
It may also mean that gardeners missed the opportunity to carry out winter spraying to control fungal diseases and overwintering pests for example lime sulfur sprays for roses after pruning. Products used to winter wash or winter spray deciduous plants in winter while they are dormant will burn new growth so shouldn’t come in contact with delicate spring growth.
As well, the early return to growth means any pruning that was unfinished may need to be abandoned and done after flowering later in the year.
As the garden gets growing we have to move our gardening programs forward to match what’s happening in the garden. As plants burst into early spring growth they need extra water and fertiliser. If the cold weather stays away, summer flowers and crops can be planted earlier than usual such as tomatoes and cucumbers.
While this should ensure a Christmas table groaning with homegrown food, do keep an eye on the weather forecast watching for the chance of a late frost!
The early spring has come about because temperatures overall have been much warmer through winter than normal. Many pests may have survived over winter so do expect a resurgence of pest and disease activity in the garden and be ready to protect your plants. I’ve also spotted blowflies along with spring flowers.
If you were planning a spring event to coincide with the usual peak flowering time of your garden, you may need to prune to encourage a second flush of flowers or add some emergency plantings of flowering annuals to make sure there is colour in the garden in spring.