I was in the field today at our Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) so just a quick post and a couple of pictures. Today is the last official day of winter but you’d never know to look outside. Our current temperature in East Lansing is 78 deg. F. Our late winter warm up has officially reached historic proportions as we have blown by 1945 as the warmest winter in record in lower Michigan. To give you an idea of how messed up things are the current temperature in Minneapolis, MN (77 deg.) is 21 deg. warmer than Los Angeles (56 deg.).
While I hate the be the messenger of doom as Chicagoans enjoy fun and frolic at the beach, for many segments of horticulture what we’re watching unfold is a slow motion disaster. Phenological development (bud-break, flowering etc.) is currently running almost a full month ahead. Many important fruit crops such as plums and peaches have started to flower and the rest aren’t far behind. Based on long-term records it is virtually certain that we will have several hard freezes before the weather warms up for good, meaning that many of these crops will be severely damaged if not destroyed entirely. So, if you’re in the Midwest or East, make the best of the good weather but recognize all good things must come to an end…
Plum crazy. Plum blossoms at MSU SMREC, March 19, 2012
Just peachy. Peach tree in bloom. MSU SWMREC, March 19, 2012.