Late winter good news for plants

By Matt Porter

March 18, 2013 Updated Mar 19, 2013 at 8:59 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) Despite today's snow, spring is just two days away

And that leaves gardeners with the big question: When to plant?

Jim Hoteling, owner of the Hillside Garden Center in Dickinson, said it's not necessarily the cold that makes things dangerous for plants, but drastic changes in temperature.

Early springs cause plants to come out early, he said the best thing is when temperatures stay cold and come up gradually.

"Last year we had the opposite problem where the warm weather pushed things too early," Hoteling said. "This year, you know, things are cold, and things are coming on probably more seasonably."

He said this year has been better than last year's up and down weather.

Ecologist Richard Andrus at Binghamton University said last year's warm winter caused major disruption for vulnerable crops like apples.

"If it gets warm too early and then it gets cold again. The situation of the flowers coming out, and then a cold snap freezing the flowers, and then you don't get any fruit," Andrus said.

He said climate change continues to warm our area which could have long-term effects on local forests.

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