It may have warmed up quite a bit lately and even a few plants are starting to bud out and bloom. Yet, it is still too early to plant across our area with the opportunity for frost and freeze in the months to come.

It has certainly been warm over the past several days. Temperatures have been more than 10 degrees above average for this time of the year, just since the beginning of the workweek. Yesterday afternoon, we broke daytime high records as temperatures soared into the low 80s! Not only has this week been abnormally warm, but the whole month of January was 6.2 degrees warmer than normal.

All of this warm weather has led to some early signs of spring. Some plants have even budded and bloomed out some 20 or more days early. According to research at the USA National Phenology Network, many plants across the southeast have started to show signs of early spring growth. Many trees across the area have already started to have leaves come out several days ahead of schedule, and many plants have started to have blooms much earlier than they typically would.

These warmer-than-normal temperatures are going to stick around for a while. Looking at the temperature outlook for March 2 through the 8, temperatures are expected to stay warmer than normal. Just because these warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected to stick around, doesn’t mean that you are in the clear to plant some flowers.

There is still some time for some cooler air to work into our area over the next couple of months. If you are getting some spring fever from these warmer days and looking to plant some, it is best to hold off on planting until April. Our average last spring freeze occurs around April 1, with the latest spring freeze on record on May 7. When it comes to frost, our average last frost date in the Tennessee Valley is after April 5.

While average temperatures will continue to be above normal, it would only take one night of freezing temperatures to kill plants. To protect your plants it is best to keep from planting them until after the first part of April.