Friday, January 10th, 2014...5:26 pm

This cold winter has a good side for gardeners and farmers

Linebreak

 

Are you enjoying this amazing winter? Or are you, like this GardenLady, ready and eager for Spring weather?  I guess I was getting spoiled with the milder winters we have had for the last few years.

The Farmers’ Almanac had predicted that this would be a frigid winter.  Who wanted to believe? They do claim 80% accuracy.

This extreme cold weather does have a good side for gardeners and farmers. It can kill off some of the insects that attack plants. Fewer insect species survive temperatures that drop into the teens. With the frigid temperatures that we have had over the past few weeks, many of the insect pests will have died so that they will be less numerous in the spring and summer. Hopefully this will mean that less pesticides will have to be used on lawns, gardens and crops. Sadly, however, this frigid weather will also kill many of the beneficial insects.

Entomologists (scientists who study insects) are hoping that this deep freeze will also kill off a lot of the invasive insects that are doing so much damage in areas where they are not native. (see here)  Those warm winters we have had has allowed these invasive insect pests to hibernate or move into new territories and cause more and more damage to our plants. It costs fortunes to learn how to eradicate invasive insects.  So if this frigid weather accomplishes what man could not do, I think gardeners will appreciate this aspect of the Polar Vortex.

Not only  does this deep freeze kill insects, but it will kill off certain plant diseases. Louisiana State U AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry is quoted as saying,

“farmers may face fewer incidents of disease this spring. Guidry said freezing temperatures can lower the population of pathogens and reduce disease as host plants die from cold temperatures.”

In the $5 billion cost to the US for all the damage this terrible cold has wrought, there is a little silver lining. Let us hope Mother Nature will give us a great growing season in 2014  with fewer insect pests and diseases.

If readers would like to share photos of what the cold, snow and ice looks like in your areas, please send  to TheGardenLady.org

Related Content:

Leave a Reply