Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Typical winter weather has finally made an appearance, although much later than usual. It’s been mild enough to fool many plants and flowers into thinking spring is already here.
Some of the roses in the garden at Thornden Park have even started to emerge. But is Mother Nature’s trickery damaging?
"When they start to swell they are also susceptible more so to very cold temperatures, so what could happen is that there's no flowering now, but the buds have swollen enough so that they don't have the cold hardiness that they might need otherwise to get through the winter,” said Dr. Don Leopold with SUNY ESF. "The key is if you ruin the leaf buds and the plants can't produce the photosynthates needed to put on growth, then you have some really serious damage.”
Snow is necessary for the bulbs people planted last year. It acts as a sort of blanket to keep them dormant so they stay underground during the winter months and not popping up when it’s mild, subjecting them to a winter freeze.
Dr. Leopold says native species of trees and shrubs should be able to survive fine. The non-natives, especially ornamentals we plant around our houses could have a much tougher time dealing with the unusual weather we’ve been having. What Mother Nature throws at them in the next few weeks could determine their fate for the spring and summer.
Dr. Leopold also says it depends on species as to what has a better chance of surviving this up and down weather pattern to start the winter.