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Mild Weather Brings Early Spring To Morton Arboretum

(credit: MortonArb.org)

(credit: MortonArb.org)

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LISLE, Ill. (CBS) – The Chicago area’s unseasonably warm temperatures have forced some forsythia buds into bloom four months early at the Morton Arboretum just west of the city.

Plant care specialist Doris Taylor has received calls from gardeners concerned that some early bulbs, like crocuses and snow flowers, are already peeking through the ground.

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“Things are coming out of the ground. In the plant clinic, we’ve had a couple of calls about ‘Oh, my daffodils are starting to come up,’” Taylor said.

She said it’s unusual, but hardly tragic. Early daffodil emergence just means some brown leaf tips.

“It’s not a goner. That bulb is still tucked real warm into the ground and not quite ready to come up, yet,” Taylor said.

Taylor said crocuses and daffodils may experience some die-off at the leaf tips, but their flowers should appear as normal when the time is right. The best thing for gardeners to do is cover the bulb tips with leaves or mulch and forget about them.

Repeated freezing and thawing has exposed rootstock of perennials, according to Taylor. It’s a problem easily remedied by just tamping them back into the ground with a gentle foot.

Taylor also says it’s important to ensure that evergreens have been thoroughly watered, so they won’t have freezing problems should they face prolonged subzero temperatures cold later in the winter.