The warm spell in our area has broken all of the weather records. You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to see that everything is way ahead of schedule with all of the spring flowers blooming.
We’re so far ahead of schedule that the National Weather Service has decided that the growing season has started. They even plan to issue frost and freeze warnings. Usually we don’t see those for another several weeks.
Gardeners are rushing to finish up spring garden chores like pruning. I wrapped up pruning my fruit trees and grapes today. It looks like I finished just in time since they are budded out and are beginning to grow. Now I need to get an early insect spray on those plants. I missed the dormant oil spray because of the weather.
Insect pests are ahead of schedule too. While pruning the grapes I spotted grape flea beetles. This little pest can be very destructive when grapes first bud out. They feed on young tender buds as they open. I’m sure we’ll find other insects out in the garden as well.
- Not only are grape flea beetles feeding on the buds — they’re mating too.
A freeze later in the season is another worry. Open buds on fruit trees are very susceptible to cold weather damage. Freezing temperatures in April could ruin the fruit crop — buds that get frozen won’t produce fruit.
We won’t be out of the woods until the end of April or early May. The only thing we can do is wait it out and protect our plants the best we can.