On the front page of Tuesday’s Denver Post, there’s a report that I really didn’t need to read. Under the headline, “Warm & Dry” there’s a three-month precipitation probability for many parts of the West that calls for warmer, drier weather—something that will have serious implications for anyone who was looking forward to a wet spring—like gardeners, landscapers, and farmers.
While most people have enjoyed 60 degree days in February, I’ve grown weary of them. A typically dry month has been even drier than usual, and after a really dry January, we’re seeing the beginnings of another year of drought. And I hate drought.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the earth is continuing to get warmer as a consequence of global warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Maybe you’ve seen signs of it—earlier leaf out and bloom times, earlier emergence of insects or the arrival of new bird species at your backyard feeder.
In early January, when temperatures should have been frigid and when I should’ve been shoveling snow off the driveway, I saw two ordinary flies happily buzzing around right outside my front door.
Drought and climate change due to global warming are bound to create more challenges for gardeners in the West. Drought and heat waves not only encourage weeds, but also insect pests, like aphids, spider mites, locusts, and whiteflies.
Would you like to help? Efforts are underway to track these early signs of warming. A national field study called Project BudBurst uses observations from gardeners across the country to collect environmental and climate change information. Anyone can sign on and help keep track of important plant “firsts” each year like the first leafing, first flower and first fruit of area trees, shrubs and plants.
What changes have you seen in your landscape because of the warmer, drier winter we’ve had? How do you think this current trend will affect your landscape in the future?