With the mild winter we've been having my bulbs have started sprouting and my trees are budding. I'm sure winter will soon be arriving and be getting plenty of snow - should I be concerned about them?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
Elizabeth Ehmen from Warsaw, IN
When mild temperatures trigger premature growth, there isn't a whole lot you can do to prevent your bulbs from sprouting. As soon as temperatures drop, any new growth will quickly come to a halt and any foliage that had been exposed may end up turning brown and dying back. Once spring rolls around, the chances are very good that parts of the bulb that remain underground will come through unscathed. Nature has designed bulbs, especially spring bulbs, with the ability to bounce back from unexpected temperature swings. As long as your bulbs don't start to flower, they should be just fine. If you have experienced an unusually long warm spell, you may see a slightly less vigorous flush of flowers. This will depend largely on how long the warm spell lasted and how quickly temperatures cooled down afterwards. One thing that you can do to help protect sprouted bulbs from dropping temperatures is to cover them with pine boughs or straw. This is especially important if you're lacking snow cover, which can act to insulate and help protect bulbs.
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Well, the green parts may die off and the parts that do come back in the "real" spring may not look great, but the bulbs will mostly survive. Expect a few to die off. They store energy for the next year after they bloom in the spring. There's not much you can do but make sure they don't dry out when spring really arrives, perhaps give them some bulb boost fertilizer.
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