Warm weather impacting trees

Warm weather impacting trees
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 5:09 PM EST
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CONNECTICUT (WFSB)- Many might be enjoying this mild winter, but it could be dangerous for trees.

Meteorologist Jill Gilardi talked to a local expert about any potential negative impacts with early blooming trees.

Thomas Worthley has worked for UConn for 27 years as an associate extension professor and is a tree and forestry expert. He has a couple concerns regarding the lack of cold temperatures.

“As far as this winter is concerned, lack of frost in the ground, because most of the species that we have here, evolved through experience, frost in the ground, without that their conditions are off a little bit”, said Worthley.

Even though we have experienced below average snowfall this winter, we have seen plenty of rainfall and there should be a good amount of moisture now for when the growing season begin.

The other concern is the warm weather could be potentially triggering a growing season too early. Some trees are already budding and even some plants are blooming early.

“If buds emerge early or leaves start to grow early and then we get a late frost, that could be a damaging situation, not necessarily fatal to most trees but they would have to put a lot of energy setting a new set of buds, growing a new set of leaves, that would effect growth over time” said Worthley.

We don’t know the degree yet of potential damage, but any future cold snaps could be costly.