From what we’ve seen so far, winter isn’t going to amount to much. Snowfall will be light and brief, but lots of icing and warmer days in between. Here’s a snow prediction map put out by SIMA (Snow & Ice Management Association). NOAA predicts Atlantic flows which usually bend north of us following I-95 like we’ve seen so far this season.
And that looks like the story for this year. Small storms with mostly ice and minimal accumulations. We still think 1 or 2 storms will come up the coast parking 4-6″ of snow on us but no big blizzards this year.
SO WHAT’S THAT MEAN FOR YOUR PLANTS?
From the plants perspective, hibernation is being constantly interrupted. Not good. Plants are on an accelerated cycle of growth which will leave them vulnerable to freeze. They are being tricked into growth mode by the weather. Right now we are seeing bulbs popping up all over the place.
Oh, and that fuzzy thing in the front…WEED! Prepare to see a lot of them in 2017.
Weed seeds were dropped in the Fall and they usually attack in spring, but they’re out already. Weeds will reseed again and be completely off cycle by spring, so expect a bumper crop of WEEDS! Treating gardens with a Pre-emergent like Snapshot will provide blanket coverage of mulched beds, but you might have to pick/spray to eliminate the early risers and clean up before you apply pre-emergent .
Pre-M for lawns is a must in 2017.
- Application of Pre-M timing will be late March and again in May.
- Two applications will be necessary to catch the various weeds because they have different, and now interrupted cycles.
- Broadleaf weeds will be everywhere in the lawns this year. Expect dandelions and crabgrass to grow like you planted it on purpose.
- During the season, additional spray treatments to control most other weeds will be highly recommended, so be prepared to do extra in 2017.
- A solid fertilization and weed control plan will keep things mostly under control.
At the end of last season, many growers and homeowners were experiencing sudden declines in their staple foundation plants. Namely, boxwoods. The fungus that causes box blight is known as Cylindrocladium buxicola. the sticky fungal pathogens can be transferred by rain and overhead watering, pruning tools, pets, peoples clothing, etc.
Some of our favorites like the Wintergem and Wintergreen’s will be either unavailable or require so much care that they will not be priced well. We are told that Korean Boxwoods somehow seem to have not been affected by the blight. Still, substitutes are available.
Blight can spread to neighboring plants and damage occurs very quickly. The plant will be streaked with brown stems as leaves die back. Plants do not recover from blight. Fungicides will help control, but will not eliminate the blight. Fungicides can mask the problem as spores have adapted and may return requiring frequent plant inspection, especially right after a rain. Often the offended plant must be removed and destroyed. A word of caution: Dumping the plant in your woods or compost pile will allow the spores to continue to thrive.
This goofy weather will be causing very unusual issues, so keep an eye on everything and consult your landscaper often. Timing will not be typical so reaction times need to be quick.
WHAT ELSE COULD GO WRONG BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER?
Well, the summer should be hot for all the beach goers!
Irrigation systems will need to monitored to avoid overwatering and causing fungus and disease in the heat and humidity. 3 days a week for about an inch of water is enough for an established fescue lawn. Low volume drip is recommended for planting beds. Newer models of
Mowing should be done at a full 3.5″ height. Lower cutting looks neater but exposes the crown of the plant and makes it more susceptible to disease.
If you aren’t sure about your soil, a sample sent to the lab will evaluate all the nutrients and let you know what’s missing. This can affect the balance of fertilization needed and is an important step in any lawn care program. Typically soil tests cost about $65.
If you get all that under control, Have a Crab Feast!