Hello fellow readers,
Tom from Tranquility NJ wonders if his Flowering Pears (Pyrus calleryana) are in trouble. “The leaves immediately turned brown right after the dump of snow and are still clinging to the trees. Does that mean the new buds haven’t yet formed?”
No worries Tom, ornamental pears are known for holding their leaves late, but new buds begin to form at the base of each leaf stem as soon as leaves emerge in spring. So, despite the early snow, deep freeze, and heavy rains your trees will be fine. Which brings me to wonder what’s coming next…
The National Weather Service reports we’ve had close to 65 inches of rain year-to-date through November 25th which is 21 inches more than usual. Imagine if those extra inches were in the form of snow. Ten to twelve inches is the average equivalent of snow per inch of rain says Mr. Doppler—that would be dear Curt, who’s well researched and I would lovingly say obsessed with weather. Until the pre-Thanksgiving anomaly, I would’ve guessed we’d be all rained out and snow this winter would be at a minimum.
Seems the weather authorities are all over the place about what’s to come as are the woolly bear caterpillars I’ve come across while walking Miss Ellie – from all black to all brown and everything in between. As the folklore goes, the narrower the brown band the harsher the winter.
According to the National Weather Authority’s (NOAA) three-month outlook, there’s an equal chance of above, below, or average temperatures from January through March and a thirty-three to forty percent probability of above-average precipitation. Sounds to me they can’t figure out if the more precipitation is going to be rain, sleet, or snow. Our own local authority, EPAWA formerly the Eastern PA Weather Authority, fills in the blank for December advising of a slightly above average amount of snowfall and slightly below average temps.
The go-to Farmers don’t agree either. According to Farmer’s Almanac’s Editor Peter Geiger, “Contrary to the stories storming the web, our time-tested, long-range formula is pointing toward a very long, cold, and snow-filled winter.” Geiger’s forecast is a stark contrast to The Old Farmer’s Almanac who predicts a warmer than normal winter with less snow than average for our area. And for those of you beyond The Press market area, The Old Farmer writes, “This winter, we expect to see above-normal temperatures almost everywhere in the United States, except in the Southwest, where we’re predicting a colder-than-normal season. It’s still going to be wintery, of course, but it won’t be an especially frigid year.” Or, check out the bandwidths on your woolly bears crossing the road to get to the other side :^)
After all the anomalies and uncertainties, perhaps we should give up on predicting the weather and “just put your head out the window and see what it is,” my resident Mr. Doppler suggests. Meanwhile, bring out your winter coats and protect your evergreens by spraying Wilt-Pruf or other natural resin to protect them from winter burn. And with any luck before the next snow, we’ll be done with the leaf sucker-upper and the snow blower can be mounted onto the tractor. Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com