Warm temperatures may be hurting NJ’s plants and flowers
After a brief taste of winter, it's been feeling like spring recently in the Garden State. With that, you may have noticed some plants and flowers near your home are starting to re-emerge.
It may look nice, but it's not good news.
Essentially, the ground around you, and what's living under it, are confused. The plants had begun their gradual cool-down into dormancy, which is usually reached at the end of December, but the unusually warm temperatures have interrupted that process, waking the roots and making it seem like spring has sprung.
"Once you lose dormancy, it doesn't really come back a whole lot," said Jim Johnson, an agricultural agent with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County. "I will be increasingly concerned the longer it stays warm."
Johnson said the early action, whether buds have flowered or not, can have an effect on what's able to pop up again in the spring.
The size of the problem will depend on what this winter has in store for New Jersey. An overall mild winter, Johnson said, won't be a big deal.
"If it gets really cold, down to the single digits, we'll probably see a fair amount of plant damage," he said.
And unfortunately, there is no way to "un-confuse" the plants. They live and die, literally, by Mother Nature's mood swings.