Though we just got hit with several inches of snow in most parts of Maryland, it actually has been a warm winter in the last few years past. While snow lovers may relish the first real snowfall in recent memory, others are burrowing under blankets just waiting for spring to come.
Whether you love a warm winter or wish for colder days, mild winters like we’ve become used to having can wreak havoc on the coming seasons. Here are some downsides to a warm winter and why we should be happy each year when the cold filters in.
Early and Persistent Pests
Have you noticed what feels like an overabundance of itchy pests, like mosquitos, ticks, and fleas, these last few summers? Mild winter weather could be the cause.
Freezing winter temps usually keep bugs at bay, killing them off, so they have to wait until spring to thaw and multiply. A warm-weather season allows bugs to continue breeding without a break, bringing more pests and bringing them out earlier in the summer.
This could also mean trouble for your plants, with pests getting to them when they’re young and delaying their growth cycles.
Plant Cycles Thrown Off
If pests weren’t bad enough, warm temperatures could significantly affect a plant’s growing cycle. When warm weather hits during the winter months, especially after the winter solstice, they can bud when we have longer sunlight periods.
While it may be beautiful to see the bright colors during the dead of winter, it can mean trouble for the actual growing season. Once a cold spell comes through — as it inevitably does in late winter here in Maryland — the freezing temperatures hit the plants when they’re the most vulnerable.
Most plants won’t survive this sudden freeze, as their defenses were down when the weather fooled them into thinking the last frost was over. The perennials you hoped would bloom come spring could now be dead on arrival, requiring you to plant more and delay the entire cycle.
Hibernating Animals Come Out
Plants aren’t the only things that can be fooled by a warm winter. Hibernating animals like bears, groundhogs, and ground squirrels may end up leaving their dens earlier than expected.
Once they wake up, they’re usually hungry, which means they could end up in your neighborhood looking for their first post-hibernation meal. A chance encounter could bring them a bit too close for comfort, especially if they think you have food.
While a cold front wouldn’t kill the animals like the plants, it would hopefully drive them back into their den to sleep off the rest of the winter. We can hope, at least!
Preparing for the Winter, No Matter the Weather
Winter is a great time to plan for your spring garden and landscaping projects. No matter the size of your project, the 410 Lawn Guy is ready and waiting to help you knock out your to-do list.
Whether you need help to plan your vegetable garden or to get your mowing schedule set, contact us today at the 410 Lawn Guy for a free quote. Spring will be here before we know it.