Warm, 60- to 70-degree February weather in south central PA feels wonderful for those of us longing for spring, but your lawn and landscape don’t share the same sentiments. In fact, drastic changes in temperature can do quite a bit of harm to your lawn, trees and shrubs, and affect their health throughout the entire growing season.
If you’re wondering what kind of harm a little warm weather can do to your outdoor environment, we’ve broken it down for you below.
How a warm winter harms your lawn
Living in a climate characterized by cold winters means we use cool-season grasses in our lawns. Grasses such as Kentucky or rough bluegrass, ryegrass, fine or turf-type fescue all make great sunny area lawn grasses for Pennsylvania.
A warm spell in winter means that these cool-season grasses may try to break dormancy and start growing early. This will not only stress the grass when the air turns cold again, but attempts at growth will suck important nutrients out of the soil that can’t be replaced. This can lead to dead spots in the lawn come spring.
During a typical Pennsylvania winter, you don’t really have to worry much about lawn diseases, since they primarily thrive in warmth and humidity. But early-season warm weather combined with some moisture is now a breeding ground for disease, which your lawn isn’t prepared to handle this early in the year.
How a warm winter puts your trees and shrubs at risk
Just as with your lawn, a warm winter can negatively affect your trees and shrubs. Flowering trees and shrubs (and even fruit trees) may start to push blooms earlier, and once an overnight frost hits them, you lose all those buds, resulting in fewer blooms in the spring. Disease is also a worry, as well as harmful insects and pests that emerge and begin infiltrating your landscape.
What can I do?
If you want to enjoy the spring-like weather in February without having to worry about the health of your plants, the Hively Landscapes team of certified horticulturalists will be glad to work with you to implement a plan of attack against these common issues with warm winter weather. Simply give us a call at 717-292-5696 and we’ll be happy to help!