Harsh winter was hard on plants

December, January and February are always colder than the rest of the year in the United States. This past winter marked the 34th coldest on average.

For states in the Upper Midwest, this winter made the list of 10 coldest seasons.


The National Weather Service issued thousands of winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings and blizzard warnings. At one point, more than two-thirds of the country was covered in snow, and every state but Florida had at least a little bit of snow on the ground.


While the constant shoveling and shivering was a pain for everyone, it was even harder on plants, and we’re just now beginning to see the effects. Susan Littlefield of The National Gardening Association said deciduous plants are susceptible to “tip dieback,” while evergreens can experience “winter burn.” In both cases, Littlefield cautions waiting until later in the spring before pruning anything back.


Gardeners and green thumbs may even see this on plants they thought were hardy enough for their area.

“Younger plants are more susceptible to the cold, and even well established plants struggle during harsh winters like this one. Just because a plant got injured this year doesn’t meant it’s not a suitable plant for your area,” Littlefield said.


This winter has been exceptional and long, but recent warm air has melted a lot of the snow and caused a lot of green to return. Even though it’s easy to do, don’t get ahead of yourself because another winter reminder with below freezing temperatures is expected next week.

Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on twitter, @StormShieldApp and Facebook. Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are.

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