The mild winter may end up fooling Northwest Ohio trees.
Foresters say native trees won't get so easily tricked, but others-- especially fruit trees-- may get confused, especially with the rapid temperature fluctuations of cold-warm-cold. A prolonged exposure to temperatures between 20 and 50 degrees tells a tree to "reset its clock," leaving the tree at the threshold of budding-- and will flower when the first warm temperatures start to hit. That could happen this weekend with the forecast near 60.
But that mid-winter thaw could cause premature buds, only to freeze again and do some serious damage. The lack of snow insulating root systems could cause spring flower bulbs to emerge too early, too. People are being urged to keep those bulbs covered as a precaution.