Signup to receive email updates

or follow our RSS feed


John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

Blog Archives

732 Total Posts

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
flowers in February

Early Flowering and Budding

Posted by John Fulton -

Just as untimely as the crabapples blooming in December last fall, now we have daffodil and crocus booms appearing at the end of February and early March. Tulips aren't far behind, and I'm sure there are some in bloom somewhere. Trees and shrubs are also initiating bud growth.

Is this a problem? It can be from some aspects. The plants of all types only have one set of flower buds to come out each year. Think of why peach trees only produce an average of one in three years in Central Illinois. Same deal – if flowers are frosted or frozen, they die and produce no fruit. Some exposed buds and twigs could also be affected by a hard freeze of temperatures colder than 28. Colder temperatures can result in greater amounts of damage. The resulting damage could include branch tips and loss of flowers. The flower loss does have an upside if it includes crabapple or sweet gum fruits not being produced, but generally you lose the entire year of flowers and fruit. Leaves are a different story in most cases, with new buds generated if enough of the old ones are damaged. If entire twigs are killed, there will be no new leaves developed of course.

What to do? On a large scale, there really isn't much you can do. On individual flower areas, roses, or shrubs, you could try and insulate with cardboard, leaves, blankets, rose cones, etc. to protect plants to a certain point. A severe cold snap will penetrate most of these temporary barriers, but they will help with moderate frosts or freezes. You could also cut flowers to bring inside and enjoy. Forcing cuttings of flowering shrubs would also be a way to enjoy some of the fruits of your labor. The other thing is to hope for moderate temperatures here on out, and just enjoy a very early season. My fall seeded spinach survived the winter, and is now ready to pick. So there are a few bright spots to the early season!

Please share this article with your friends!
Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Pin on Pinterest