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A Sprouting Problem With Warm Winter Weather

Anticipating a changed climate, in which warmer winter seasons like the one we’re experiencing here in the northeast become the norm, I wrote about the unexpected joy of continuing to garden through to the end of November. Now, on December 4, the grass is still green and the afternoons are still warm, even if the frosts are coming harder at night.

I asked a couple weeks ago, “Can the ability to do gardening tasks in what ought to be a time of winterlike weather be appropriately regarded as a benefit of climate change?”

Yesterday, I discovered one possible answer: Spring bulbs may not be able to handle the uncertainty. Daffodils and crocuses are sprouting through the ground, having had an initial bout of normal, prolonged cold in October, followed with a very warm November. The plants are taking energy from their bulbs to create nice, long greens that won’t have very long to take in new energy from the thin midwinter sun. Will their blooms suffer in the spring? Will they come at all?

2 comments to A Sprouting Problem With Warm Winter Weather

  • Tom

    Just one small point. Climate change will result, untimately, in completely erratic weather. No one will be able to predict what the weather will be on any long-term basis due to its complexity to begin with combined with the continued dumping of gases (into the atomospere) like CO2 and now methane (from the thawing tundra in the northern latitudes), which will accelerate this warming and adversely affect this “change”.

    We could have a warmer winter to start, followed by 4 feet of snow, then 60 degree weather two days later, then a drought for 3 months of seasonably cool or warmer than average weather, followed by a HOT spring of over 90 degree weather for two weeks, then a drop back to 40 for a month. The effect on plant, bird, rodent and other animal life (including ours) will be devastating.

    As i’ve pointed out before – if this erratic weather becomes the new “norm”, and affects the entire country (including the ‘grain belt’) it will be impossible to grow enough food to sustain any large scale population.

    • You’re probably right, Tom, though none of us can tell exactly what the future will bring – and while the results may be frustrating for me as a personal gardener, they could be devastating on a wide scale when it comes to agriculture.

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