Here in SW Pennsylvania (USDA zone 6a where I'm at) we had *very* mild
weather during January & February, and winter's only decided to rear it's
ugly head in the past few weeks. However, back in January I noticed my
nigella seeds had germinated, and the tulips & daffodils were starting to
come up. Since then there have been a lot of other things, both annuals &
perennials, showing up.
This is just my 4th year as a gardener, so maybe things came up this early
in years past, and I just wasn't aware of them. But it still seems awfully
soon. So can someone else around here tell me if this is normal?
I am in east Texas, and we, too, have had a very mild Winter. I have
daffodils, Iris, forsythia, grape hyacinths, Hyacinths, and azaleas blooming
already:) I LOVE an early Spring...just makes me smile!
Angie in the boonies of East Texas
Jaqueline, take notes, and don't assume anything from year to year. Weather
is ridiculous, and like gardeners everywhere, there will be years when you
are treated to unbelievable disaster and heartbreak, like a plant you
FINALLY got to grow being executed by freak weather in April. Or even May.
This is the reason to plant excessive amounts of stuff, and lots of variety.
I'm in the same general area... heading into the Laurel Highlands... and
I'll just say that you might want to be very careful in these parts when it
comes to this stuff. We get a lot of false starts and spots in the middle of
winter where we have mild weather for a few weeks only to be followed with
single digit F and lower temps. Poorly established perennials and those that
are borderline between hearty and not often try to come alive in the middle
of winter and then get walloped... often not making it.For instance, I have
a row of dianthus that, if planted a few miles away up the mountain, or
further north near I-80 might be annuals... nonetheless some nurseries here
sell them as hearty. I mulch them now as I got so used to seeing them in
that bed that I just had to put them in again when they died.
I know that there will be many here who sneer at this, but it has proven
over time to be the least risk for me here: I layer my maple and ash leaves
heavily over marginal stuff in the fall. If it is a new plant that I put in
while very young or if I look at the temp range and see it is close I pile
it on, generally. Until this year I saw two real risks... hitting just the
right window to take it off so as not to subject them to one of our famous
late-March 70deg stretches and cook them under there, and still watch out
for one of our famous late April 20 deg or lower nights. I start removing
the leaves about now and then put a thinner coat back on. Sounds crazy...
but it seems to work for me. The other thing is fungus that can get started
under there, so I usually spray with a dose of Fungonil a few times in the
spring. Leave the leaves or some other heavy cover handy... even if it
doesn't look good until after Memorial Day, just in case the last minute
evening news suddenly calls for a drastic and previously unpredicted dip
overnight... and make certain you are watching the evening news *every*
Seems to be a number three these last two years, though... fricking moles.
I'm not sure if you're in one of our rural areas, and soon it won't matter,
but the area is under a severe infestation of the things. If you are you
know that there aren't enough havahart traps being made in all of China to
nab all these little bastards. I've been poisoning and shooting as has
everyone for miles around since the beginning of last year and I thought
that I had them seriously on the decline where I would only have to stay on
top of new holes this year. Now that I have looked under the mulch I know
that not to be such a promising outlook. Won't be long now until I can't put
any widely applied chemicals on the property due to run-off to the pastures
the cattle will soon be moving to. More birdshot in an extra clip or two and
scoops of poison in the individual holes is all there will be left to try. I
understand that the geniuses are going to try something to eradicate them...
but that generally worries me even more <SHUDDER>
At any rate... if you're new to this, it truly is a learn as you go deal
around here. Someone else replied to take notes... I can't stress how
important that is. Keep tabs on how certain things respond to your location
in various scenarios and you will learn how to approach our wildly varying
climate from one year to the next.
Of course you could just plant only large healthy plants from major
nurseries with lots of hard earned cash... making certain they are hearty
from 110 above to 30 below. I find great sport in scouring the garden club
sales and garage sales and flea markets and out of the way eclectic shops
for small cheap and unusual oddities and then give them everything I've got
to see if I can make them grow.
Thanks, Ralph. Your input (and Doug's admonishment to take notes) helps a
lot. I've actually lived in this area for 10 years, so I've learned how
unpredictable the weather can be. I remember wearing a turtle-neck the
first week of June a few years ago. I hope as time goes on I'll get a
better understanding of what my plants needs, like you seem to have.
Funny you mention moles. I'm in a semi-rural area (small town surrounded by
farms, and I * have* noticed that the mole population increased
dramatically. I've been debating what to do about them. I can't use any
chemicals because my cats go out in the fenced-in yard. One of them has
made it her personal mission to eradicate the little buggers, but she can't
I'm considering applying milky spore to control Japanese beetles, under the
assumption that destroying the moles' food source will make them go away.
However, I haven't seen many Japanese beetles, so I'm not sure what else
they're eating, and what an appropriate treatment would be. If you fnd a
something that works, let me know (other than shooting them - I don't think
my neighbors would appreciate it :-)
You haven't seen infestations of the magnitude we have around here, then.
This is not like suburbanites finding a stay mole in the petunias or someone
who wasted loads of money on grass... it's an all out war against critters
that are causing huge amounts of damage. You cannot move the smallest rocks,
boards, tarps... anything that sits for more than a day or three without
seeing them scramble. 22 Birdshot (crimped... not plastic point) works best
as they cannot wriggle away from all of them. Move some mulch a bit and you
see them go. I mulched the veggies with straw and they had a housing plan in
a week or three... hawks sit on the fence posts waiting. You can fool them
for shooting purposes by laying a half sheet or so of old plywood down for a
day or three and then have someone flip it up with a hoe or something and
have a full clip of birdshot in the rifle.
We had two years of horrible wet and cicadas (their favorite food) and far
too much clearing and such around here. They're way out of control and the
simple solutions aren't working at all. Heavy poisons aren't good, as I
mentioned, because of the run-off to the pastures (which are, incidentally,
being affected as well). They are working on a way to thin them, but they
worry me when they talk about that kind of stuff, and here's why:
In this area, a number of years ago, Multiflora were introduced as natural
fence lines to help control the cattle. Idea looked good on paper, but...
the birds eat the fruit and crap the seeds over the fields and the
multiflora sprout everywhere. Ever try to kill multiflora? There is little
that can be done to stop them short of destroying fields literally digging
them out. And the seeds remain viable underground for 20+ years.
Soooooooo... .. . the multiflora have become the bane of the farmers here.
But wait! The geniuses have a plan:
They decided to take a rose bush that is diseased and crush it's roots and
make a tea of them. Then they started spraying the multiflora (a member of
the rose family) with the tea and started spreading the rose disease to kill
the multiflora. It appears to be working... unfortunately, it's killing the
roses, too. So they are looking for a way to stop the spread of the rose
disease that they introduced into our area that will only stop it from
killing the roses and keep killing the multiflora... yeah riiiiiight.
So the announcement that the same group is working on something to stop the
mass infestations of moles leads one to the conclusion of YIKES!
I read someone in the paper who puts out these garden write-in advices that
fielded a question from someone from our area on this and they suggested
covering a tunnel to see if it's active and then putting a trap to it and
thereby ridding the area of the mole... How clueless are some of these
writers? Does he know how many tunnels there are? They would have to bring
in truckloads of traps! The best thing that can happen is to keep poisoning
the little ****** as possible without going to the point of runoff, shoot
them when you can and hope for a dry year or three and let nature do the
rest, IMO. I'm not sure we can take any more cures or fixes... although I
might like to find a good deal on 5 gallon bottles of castor oil and see if
I can fight them back as far as the pastures or the neighbor's fallow
I have never seen moles above ground. What are they eating now that the
cicadas are gone? What does clearing have to do with moles? They are
not forest creatures. What kind of huge damage? Sounds more like voles
Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8b
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.