PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The mild winter we’ve been seeing is not only unusual for Southern New Englanders, but it’s left our plant life perplexed as well.
You may have noticed that trees and flowers have started to bloom early, just to have March arrive with snow and colder temperatures.
“I do think it’s concerning. I do think you have to be careful, especially if you have perennials that are very special to you, or you’ve noticed that they’ve really started to flush out,” Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Director Lee Ann Freitas told 12 News.
Not all plants are blossoming, however, but some have gotten a head start.
“Mostly what has started to flush out are daffodils and crocus, things like that are ephemeral bulbs,” Freitas said, adding not to be concerned if you come across ones with yellow burning tips or brown leaf tips.
According to Freitas, discoloration likely has nothing to do with the long-term health of the plant.
“What you would be concerned about is the blossom,” she explained. “So if you’ve noticed that the bud has started to pop and then we have another freezing temperature like Friday, that would not be a good situation.”
There are ways to protect plants that start to pop early, including wrapping them in a sheet or pillowcase to shield them from the cold.
Another, perhaps more creative, way is to wrap holiday lights around the plants which would provide some warmth and protect the foliage and blossoms.
Freitas told 12 News that due to the shifting between mild and cold temperatures, some of the blossoms may already be a loss, which could lead to less color later in the season. The overall health of trees and plants should be fine though, she said.
“I would watch the foliage to see if it continues to yellow and you might want to give it a bolster of nitrogen or fertilizer or compost,” Freitas added.
Spring officially arrives at 5:24 p.m. on March 20.