Many Utahns are concerned that the unseasonably warm temperatures are causing confusion for our plants and trees. While there is concern about plants breaking dormancy and emerging too early, thus increasing their susceptibility to frost, most plants are still dormant. Consider this information before getting too anxious.
* There have been sightings of bulbs starting to emerge, but this is normal. Each plant species responds differently to fluctuations in temperatures, but for the time being, most will be tolerant to freezing temperatures.
* Don’t be in too big of a hurry to begin pruning. Keep in mind that pruning stimulates new growth and that new growth is more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Prune apple and pear trees in mid-February, and stone fruits around mid-March along the Wasatch Front. For colder mountain valleys, begin pruning a few weeks after the Wasatch Front timing.
*Avoid tilling garden soils too early. Tilling soils while they are still wet damages the structure of the soil, causes a compacted layer and creates hard clods that are difficult to deal with later during planting.
* Most concerning now is our overall lack of winter moisture. The more populated areas of the state are only between 40 and 60 percent of normal precipitation. If the current situation continues, the growing season for 2019 could be challenging.
* Resist the urge to turn on automatic irrigation systems until late spring. Warm temperatures do not necessarily mean that plants need to be watered. Established landscape plants have extensive root systems that are able to access soil moisture better than most people realize. Many homeowners turn on automatic sprinkling systems several weeks before the plants actually need it.
* There is nothing we can do about the warmer temperatures besides enjoy them. It
is going to be far more important for us to be aware of our water supply down the
road, and begin now to conserve wherever we can.
By: Taun Beddes, email@example.com and JayDee Gunnell, firstname.lastname@example.org
USU Extension Launches E-Learning Gardening Course
Utah State University Extension recently launched a series of online gardening courses designed for beginning and intermediate gardeners. The courses will teach participants about annuals and perennials, basic botany, fruits and nuts, pest management, soil basics, trees and shrubs, turfgrass and vegetables.Read More
Upcoming USU Extension Grafting Workshops
Grafting is the age-old practice of joining plants to specific root systems to get the desirable benefits of both parts. USU Extension provides several upcoming workshops to teach the science and techniques of grafting.Read More
Ask an Expert: Five Ways to Protect Plants from Dipping Temperatures
With looming cold temperatures heading to Northern Utah this week, anxious gardeners are worried about their fruit trees and newly planted gardens. Buds of fruit trees vary in hardiness according to their developmental stages, but most fruit trees have flowered and set their fruit, and in general, should be safe from a light frost.Read More