This spring has been... crazy? I think that would be about the best term to describe what we have experienced so far. Then again we are talking about Cleveland & Columbus, and if you have lived here for any amount of time you realize that this is about normal.
Recap of What’s Happened...
To date we have experienced well above normal temperatures. Soil temperatures in Columbus are currently 56° F and have been as high as 62° F. Similar tempretures can be found in Cleveland as well. Although air temperature is important, many plants are triggered to begin their spring activities through soil temperatures. Many of our ornamental plants are blooming at the same time, when normally they go through a more sequential phase. Bradford pears, magnolias, forsythias, and serviceberries do NOT normally bloom at the same time. All of this activity has lead our plants to be stunning visually, but also very vulnerable to spring frosts.
What to Expect...
After looking into the crystal ball I predict.... Ok, no body has a crystal ball or else we would have known what this spring was going to bring us, and I would have won the Mega-Millions jackpot. However it is highly likely that we will have some more issues upon us this summer.
- More Bugs Than Normal - Insects look to have a favorable year for their existence. The mild winter mixed with the warm spring should increase their numbers this year. Active grubs and chiggers have already been reported among other insects.
- More Lawn Care Diseases - If we have moisture comparable to the previous two years, diseases might also be abundant. Ohio’s humidity mixed with weakened plants from the past two years are a perfect place for diseases to prosper.
- Early Germination of Dandelions - The final enemy to your landscape, weeds, are already have an edge. The early warm-up has dandelions blooming, bittercress popping its seeds, and the crabgrass has had a head start at germinating.
These are some of the things what we might expect to see this summer. Remember that the best defense to any invader is a healthy plant. Keep your plants strong with proper fertilization, irrigation, and cultural practices!
Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.