Well, so far, 2012 has been just that.
We saw very little snow, some rain and hail, unfortunately tornadoes, and even some ice and fog.
Now, we are on to 70-degree temperatures in March.
So the popular question Extension Educators are getting is, "What does this mean for insects and plants this year?"
To be honest, no one knows that answer with 100 percent confidence.
Instead, we can just use some logic to make a prediction.
I'll start my prediction off by saying if you haven't treated for crabgrass, do so now. Typically, we treat for crabgrass when the forsythia shrubs bloom around mid to late March.
Well, if you haven't noticed, everything is running about three weeks ahead, so it might even be too late to treat crabgrass this year.
We should probably start to be on the lookout for fire blight. Fire blight is a bacterial disease that attacks apples, crabapples and pears. Normally, it enters into the plant through the flowers, but if you have trees damaged by hail, it can enter through the hail damage.
To prevent fire blight from taking over, you might consider spraying the antibiotic Streptomycin during blooming and after any further hail storms.
The bottom line: When it comes to insects, we can definitely expect higher populations of a few species, but for most, there is no way of knowing.
Flea beetles are one insect that we would expect to see higher populations of because our mild winter theoretically will result in a greater survival for them.
The reason there is no way of knowing the impact the weather has had on other insect species is because many insect species overwinter, regardless of the severity of the weather, so their populations won't be impacted; if spring and summer weather are conducive, there could be large populations assuming the insects are able to reproduce. If you are not aware, most insects have the ability to reproduce in large numbers, so good weather could mean even larger populations of young; and winter has no effect on some of our insects because they overwinter in our houses or down south.
Ultimately, there is no way of knowing what the rest of 2012 has in store for us. But what we do know is that you have to be diligent in maintaining the lawn and garden this year and when dealing with insects, because they are impacted by the weather and we have no way of having picture-perfect weather year-round.
As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
* March 22 -- Clay County Ag Dinner, Clay County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m. Cost is $6,
* March 22 -- Clay County Extension Office closed from noon until March 23,
* March 22 -- Farmers Market Boot Camp, Terre Haute, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost is $15. Call 765-494-1296 to register by March 22,
* March 23 -- Quad County PARP, Mooresville, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 765-342-1010 to register, and
* March 27 -- Owen County Ag Dinner, Owen County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m. Cost is $10. Register by March 22, by purchasing a ticket at the extension office or SWCD office.