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Warm winter weather causing early blooms

It may be warm, but experts say you shouldn't be in a rush to plant certain vegetables in your garden.

PORTLAND, Ore. — If you were expecting winter to come, don't wait too long because if you look outside it might feel more like spring.

A mild winter has helped jump-start an early spring blossom on trees and flowers. Tulips are rising from the ground and daffodils are showing off their beautiful yellow colors.

Some trees are showing signs of that season change and it's only February.

A year ago at the same time, snow was in the forecast. One year later 60 degree weather is expected.

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"It is early, we haven't had much cold weather," Portland Nursery manager Ken Whitten said. "We've only had very light frost throughout most of the winter and so a lot of things are kind of jumping the gun. Especially the trees and some of the shrubs."

Whitten says if the shrubs and trees are starting to flower, you'll want to hold off on any pruning until later on.

"The real danger of pruning shrubs this time of year is more with things that are spring bloomers, so if you go out and give a chop to those rhododendrons or azaleas you might be taking off this year's flower."

For the most part, trees and shrubs should be in the clear and produce fruit, but if we get a hard freeze those early flowers might be lost and not produce the fruit crops are hoping for.

Whitten says many gardeners use Presidents Day as a reminder for planting and pruning. That was over a week ago. He says now is a good time to plant your peas and potatoes and onions: vegetables that do better in colder temperatures.

A good reminder, don't be in a hurry to plant your whole garden. You may see tomatoes on the shelves, but it's a good idea to wait until April or May after the last frost. Whitten says, you won't get ahead of the game by planting early, but instead might stunt a tomato's growth or cause it to die.

"There are some vegetables and some flowers that you might usually plant later, which because we've had a few nice days people might want to jump the gun on and they probably should look at the calendar and not the weather and hold off a bit."

Go ahead, relax and put off planting the rest of your garden, after all it's still winter.

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