Warm weather prompting early spring for area plants, trees

Unseasonably warm weather has prompted an early spring for some plants and trees, with buds and blooms appearing in the past two weeks.

The high temperature on Wednesday reached 70 degrees at the Dayton International Airport breaking a record from 1922, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

On Feb. 15, highs reached 71 degrees and broke a record of 69 degrees set in 1954 for the region.

“It is going to be a very unusual year,” said Michael Bellanca, store manager at Siebenthaler’s Centerville Garden Center. “Things are going to start budding a lot.”

ExploreDayton breaks 3rd high temp record in two weeks

The unusual season started with a harsh winter at Christmas time, which Bellanca said a lot of plants weren’t hardened off for the very extreme weather at that point. This led into a very mild January with fluctuating temperatures in February, causing budding and bulbs to start to come up. Temperatures on Thursday fluctuated approximately 45 degrees.

The temperatures should not cause problems for most early flowers like tulips and daffodils, but if temperatures drop below freezing into the 20s for several days in the next two months it could cause problems, Bellanca said.

“It just depends on how extreme the weather gets,” said Bellanca. He said trees can produce secondary buds, and for specimen plants, individuals can cover those plants at night, such as with sheets or burlap, if temperatures dip into 20 degrees or the teens overnight. Covers can be removed during the day to allow the plants to get sunlight.

Temperatures are not the only thing to impact when plants go to bud. With the days getting longer, the available daylight can also play a role. Lisa Zoromski, a biologist with Five Rivers MetroParks, said many flowering plants are dependent on photoperiod to initiate budding and flowering. Photoperiod is the amount of time a plant is exposed to light.

“House plants and potted plants are more sensitive to weather, so also be patient before placing plants out until after the last frost date,” Zoromski said. She also encouraged individuals to be patient and wait until later in the spring before cleaning up yards as many insects are still dormant in leaf litter and dead plants, such as butterfly and moth larvae, cocoons, and chrysalis.

ExploreCold, partly cloudy Friday; More clouds, warmer temperatures over weekend

While low temperatures were projected overnight, warmer temperatures are being forecasted for this weekend and next week. Clouds will dip a little on Saturday for partly sunny skies, and temperatures will be a little warmer, with highs around 50 degrees.

Sunday will be partly cloudy. Highs will rise a little further, to around 57 degrees.

There’s a chance for rain Sunday night which will continue into Monday. Overnight lows will be around freezing.

Monday will be warm, wet and windy, with the NWS saying it expected gusts of 40 to 45 mph, with isolated winds up to 50 mph.

Daniel Susco contributed to this story.

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