Greenhouses Busy, But Experts Say Too Early to Plant

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

The recent beautiful weather has many people itching to get outside and do some yardwork. Local greenhouses are busy, but that doesn't mean homeowners should get busy planting.

"Oh man, it's just been great," eager gardener Doug Beechem said. "You want to get out there and you want to do something you know."

Greenhouse employees say they haven't seen weather like this, this early, in more than a decade. The warmer temperatures have plants growing fast, approaching where they would be in mid-April.

Still, experts say it's far too early to get annual flowers and other tender plants in the ground.

"It's so beautiful right now, it's so warm and it makes you really feel like you should be able to start the season right now, however chances are really high that we're going to get another freeze, if not more," Lisa Harkness, with Van Atta's Greenhouse said. "We can have freezes up through May."

"People should just focus on getting things cleaned up and trimmed back," Patrick Svec, with Smith Floral and Greenhouse said. Svec says this is a great time to mulch, rake and prepare your garden.

You can also plant trees and shrubs, he says.

"Any that are hardy in Michigan," Harkness added. "The pussy willows are beautiful now."

Experts are also giving some cold-loving vegetables, like peas or lettuce, a cautious green light, if you can cover them quickly.

For those who may have jumped the season and already planted somethign that's not hardy in mid-Michigan, Harkness says there's still hope.

"I would dig it up and put it in a pot, put it out on these days in the pot on your patio when it's real nice and warm," she said. Then bring it in, when Michigan's typical March returns.

As for flowering fruit trees, Svec says this weather may be a real concern. If they are flowering when we get a frost, he says they could lose production.

"If it stays 80 during the day and suddenly it gets down to 20 at night, no early spring flowering trees are going to like that," Svec explained.

Local landscapers have also been kept busy by the warm up. One business has seen such a jump, it has brought employees back from layoff.


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