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Will the mild winter cause damage to my plants and trees?

Posted on: March 11th, 2016


The UK may be bracing itself for snow over Easter but up until now, the winter has been unseasonably mild. And because of this, a lot of the trees have been blossoming for weeks. The daffodils and crocuses are out already and spring has sprung early.

But although this means we have gorgeous swathes of colour in our gardens, an early spring is not necessarily a good thing. The warm winter has prompted a ‘false’ spring, which can leave crops and plants vulnerable. This is because invariably, these high temperatures are likely to be followed by an abrupt freeze.

Early buds and blooms are easily killed off by a hard frost; they simply aren’t strong enough to survive such extreme temperatures. The sudden shock can damage the growing tissue and reproductive structures of the plant. And this can mean that the plant then fails to flower or fruit for the rest of the year.

Not good for your garden and even worse for wildlife, as lost plant productivity can have a massive impact on animals that depend on certain plants to survive. Agriculture can also be affected by the false spring, with frost damaged fruit and vegetables costing farmers millions in waste.


A warm winter can have an adverse effect on trees too. On a warm day, it is normal for a tree’s sap to come up. However, unusually warm winter and early spring days can lead to the level of sap you would expect in mid-summer, which is abnormal.

Plus warm weather can produce fungus and a tree that has gone dormant for the winter is not able to fight it like it usually could. In the worst cases, this fungus could kill a tree.

What can you do to help?

Tempting as it may be, try not to plant anything you may be growing in your home or greenhouse until later in the spring. If your garden’s plants are struggling, keep an eye on the weather forecast and protect them with a cloth or plastic covering if frost looks likely.

Mulch can help to keep tree roots warm but if you have noticed that any of your trees have been affected by fungus, there’s not much you can do but wait and hope.

We hope you found this article on ‘Will the mild winter cause damage to my plants and trees?’ useful. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article then please do not hesitate to call Prince Tree Surgery on 01277 229709.

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