Warmest February on record results in early blooms

Area plants blooming ahead of schedule

SAN ANTONIO – The 2017 calendar has been more of a suggestion than a rule. February had four record highs set or tied, leading to the warmest February on record for San Antonio.  As a result, spring seems to have arrived early.

"Plants are blooming a little bit ahead of schedule,” said Bob Brackman, executive director of the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

Some Texas mountain laurel began blooming in mid-February.

"Normally, we enjoy those the first couple of weeks of March or into late March,” Brackman said.  “They’re going to be pretty much gone at that time this year."

Brackman said plants blooming earlier means that they will also lose their beautiful colors a little earlier. Meanwhile, wildflowers are also making an early appearance, already blooming along San Antonio’s highways.

When it comes to planting, Brackman believes that it is still too early to plant herbs, tomatoes or tropical species. Just about everything else should be ready to plant.

"It is fine to put in the native trees, the native shrubs, perennials and any of the cool season annuals,” Brackman said.

San Antonio averages its last freeze at the beginning of March, but a sub-freezing night cannot be ruled out well into March. Even so, Brackman believes that most plants would survive.

"Thirty-four (degrees), 33, or even down to 30, I’m really not too worried about it. If it gets down into the 20s, I would be more concerned,” Brackman said.

Another possible side effect of the warmth and wet winter is oak pollen.  The allergen has appeared in pollen counts several weeks ahead of schedule.

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