Lawn Care, Tree Services, Landscape Design on Cape Cod MA

Professional Landscape Services, Maintenance and Installation On Cape Cod
What Will This Mild Winter Mean For My Landscape?

By A Landscape Professional

It’s always tough to tell exactly what will happen, but here are a few quick thoughts and observations:

  • Spring bulbs that have pushed up early should be fine. They are typically very cold hardy. There may be some minor damage to the flowers, but no damage to the plant.
  •  I have seen some spring flowering shrubs in bloom, such as, Forsythia and Rhododendron. Of course they will not bloom again until next year, but this has been very limited. This early bloom will not hurt the plant.
  • Should be a good year for Hydrangeas! Flower buds are typically the least cold hardy part of the plant. Mild winters usually mean good blooms for plants with marginal cold hardiness.
  • If any perennials have pushed up shoots they should be fine. Most of what we grow around here can handle the frozen temperatures. If you are really concerned you can cover them with a light layer of mulch.
  • Winter moth caterpillars are projected to be around in large numbers this year. I have no idea what the warm weather means. It has been very difficult to predict this pest as it is newly introduced and we don’t have enough experience with it yet. All we can do is start inspecting buds for larvae right before bud break.
  • As for other insects and pests like ticks, warmer weather usually means more activity and greater populations. We offer several treatment options.
  • Rodent populations sometimes spike after mild seasons. We could see more mole and vole activity. Although, sometimes the abundance of extra food in a mild winter may limit damage to the landscape.
  • Turf– occasionally the lack of snow cover can desiccate and damage areas of your lawn, however, warmer soil temps can mean better root growth. We are seeing some snow mold damage, but it will grow right out once the lawns come out of dormancy.
  • Turf insects– grubs are usually not effected much by weather so I expect normal pressures. Chinch bugs can overwinter, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some additional pressure from them.
  • I’ve seen a few dandelions in bloom. Good if you don’t like them. Often when the blooms freeze it can kill them.
  • Winter annual weeds will likely be very active.

This is mostly all speculation, and of course, the weather will turn bitterly cold now that I’ve written this, but we can check back in a few months and see how I did.

Justin