We’ve recently noticed that certain types of flowering trees and shrubs have their 2016 flower buds swelling, and in a few instances, actually opening this December! Why? The trees are confused.
The abnormally warm November and December is tricking certain Magnolia, Crab Apple and potentially other plants into thinking they should be flowering. We’ve seen this happen before. What may unfortunately occur is this…
When the flower buds are tricked into swelling ahead of schedule, whether they actually open into flowers or not, they may be damaged by the inevitable cold winter which will surely follow. It may not be as cold as usual due to El Nino, but it will be cold enough to burn and dry out the buds. This means that your tree may not flower at all in 2016, or the flowering may be sparse or weak.
We already know that we will be receiving calls next spring where the messages will be as follows….
”You sprayed our tree last year and now it won’t flower”. Rest assured that if this happens to your tree, it has nothing to do with any applications. Mother Nature is the guilty party.
This situation can also occur when we have an unusually warm January or February. Those flower buds swell early, and then if we get night time freezing temperatures in March, ‘Winter Burn‘ sets in and the buds suffer from the same negative effect.
A lot will depend on the exact varieties of trees that are involved within each species, not to mention things like soil moisture as well as directional exposure in relation to your house or other mature plantings, which may or may not protect them from cold winter winds. Only time will tell as to whether or not your trees will be affected next spring.