How to cope with a wishy-washy spring

daffodils growing in spring snow

Spring time along the Colorado front range can be an exciting time. From thunder snow, to high temps in the 80s and 90s to the very next day of hail, or freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow. If you’ve lived here any length of time you know what we’re talking about. This kind of weather along the Front Range can leave people and plants confused over whether spring will ever arrive. So what is the prescribed lawn treatment after these events?

When Mother Nature gets wishy-washy in the springtime, what should we expect?

  • Fruit trees may not have peaches, apples or apricots this season.
  • Crabapples: since they bloom over time, some may set fruit and survive. Others may be questionable for fruiting. Successful fruit production depends on the size of the fruit at the time of a freeze.
  • Ash, maple and honey locust whose leaves browned out in an earlier freeze will likely come back with expanding secondary leaves. Make sure trees receive adequate water to avoid drought stress and apply appropriate fertilizer.
  • Perennials that have not yet flowered should move into the season with few effects. Flowers on early-blooming plants, such as lilacs and forsythia, may be lost during a freeze. The weight of snow may push blossoms and petals off many blooming plants. Peonies may have broken stems. Late-blooming stiff-stem iris should survive. While it’s painful to lose showy blooms, the plants themselves should recover and rebound.
  • Tender annual veggies – tomatoes, green peppers and emerging seedlings – are likely lost unless protected from a freeze. You’ll want to keep freeze protection in place if temps hover near freezing.

What will plants need after a weather roller-coaster?

  • Veggies and annual flowers that did not survive need to be replanted.
  • Trees and shrubs may need selective pruning to remove storm damage. Splayed plants may need bundling to restore their shape.
  • Perennials are tough, snow storm survivors and will likely recover with some pruning and TLC. Provide adequate water and fertilizer and monitor for pest infestations.

The consolation prize in these weather events is that there may be fewer ash seeds falling and sprouting in beds and lawns. And there may be less cottonwood cotton floating in the air.

The best plant Rx after these weather events is to keep plants healthy and unstressed. Healthy plants are more resistant to insects and diseases. If you must replace some of your plants, select varieties most likely to survive in Colorado’s challenging climate. This lawn treatment will keep your landscape healthy, even with a wishy-washy Colorado Springs springtime weather.