Paying the Price for a Mild Winter

tree care

Leaves affected by apple scab.

The winter of 2016 was a mild one in central Indiana, and it was a needed relief after the two unseasonably cold and snowy winters preceding it.  We all enjoyed the benefits of a more temperate winter.  Yet as often happens, this much welcomed mildness is not without a downside.  Now we must deal with the increase in insects and disease that often accompany warmer temperatures and fewer blizzards.

More Insects.

The harsh weather of winter is hard on insects.  Prolonged freezing temperatures will kill more insects as the frost level pushes deeper into the ground, reaching to places where more insects are hibernating.  In a mild winter the ground will not freeze as far down, allowing for more insect to survive.  Insect populations get another boast when warm weather arrives earlier in the spring without a resurgence of cold.  In these circumstances, bugs can begin reproducing earlier and have more time to build up in numbers.

It is easy to see that this increase in insect populations can have some negative consequences.  Obviously, insects are pests and having more of them will require more effort to keep them from wreaking havoc.  One area where the reach of more insects must be battled is in plant care.  From crops to landscapes, from trees to perennials, all plants are exposed to more attacks from insect pests after a mild winter.  In particular, the tree care specialists at Ping’s are seeing an increase in scale insects, especially in maple, tulip, oak, and crab apple trees.

More Disease.

In addition to an increase in insects, mild winters can also result in an increase in disease experienced by plants and trees.  Mold, in particular, can be a real problem after a mild winter.  Mild winters produce the kind of wet and mild conditions that mold thrives in.  Not only are temperatures more suitable to the growth of mold and other diseases, but the fact that more precipitation falls as rain rather than snow leaves the ground soggy and wet, a perfect environment for the growth of mold, fungus, and bacteria.  Our arborists are currently battling attacks from fungi such as apple scab and anthracnose.

There are many advantages to a mild weather, but it is not without its drawbacks.  Now that the seasons have changed, it is important to be aware of the accompanying increase in insects and disease.  If you have considered the Plant Health Care Plan offered by Ping’s, now is a perfect time to start.  Our certified arborists will monitor the health of your trees and guard against disease and infestation.  Visit our website to read more or give us a call (317-298-8482) to talk to a tree specialist.