The big word is “if.” The flip-flopping warm and cold temperatures shouldn’t hugely impact your grass, plants, trees, fruit or vegetable gardens — if it doesn’t drop into the 20s too far, too long.
The recent warmth does have some plants turning out and even flowering early, but plants in this region are acclimated to variable temperatures this time of year and respond more to the length of days than the warmth, said College of Charleston botanist Jean Everett.
“Unless it freezes super super hard, most plants — especially ones that bloom this time of year — are pretty freeze tolerant,” Everett said. And some plants will “emergency flower” a second bud if the first is lost to frost.
For food plants and some others, it’s a little different story.
At Boone Hall Plantation, the strawberries have already been started for the early spring crop and managers are eyeing the forecasts. Plants are living organisms just like people — they don’t like it when it gets hotter or colder than they’re used to, said operations director Jadie Rayfield. The plantation is renowned for its roadside strawberry crop in the early spring, a crop that’s already been started. Those sought-after plants are covered when it gets cold.
“We protect these strawberries, trust you me,” Rayfield said.
But the plantation’s Japanese maples bloomed two weeks early and apricots by the manor house are blooming now, about a month early.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on Twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.
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