72 / 53
      83 / 59
      74 / 45

      Warm weather is good for trees, shrubs, flowers

      For Friday's Facebook Story of the Day, many of you wanted to know how the mild weather has affected outdoor growth.

      In general, warmer, milder temperatures are good for all varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers.

      "The trees have been a lot less stressed since we haven't had a severe winter," said Gene Rathje, Ottumwa Parks Director. "So some of the species we have, like Sweetgum and Bald Cypress, they're going to do a lot better in spring when it warms up, so we're not going to have a lot of dead trees caused by a severe winter, so that's good."

      Rathje said if the warm weather continues into the spring, many of the flowers, including perennials, will bloom earlier. Many trees have already started to bud as well.

      One species particularly benefitting from the warm weather is evergreens.

      "Evergreens go through a normal process, especially like white pines, where they do a fall needle drop and then in the winter, they sort of go dormant," Rathje said. "But since we had a mild winter this year, they're probably going to green up a little earlier than normal and also, since we didn't have a lot of moisture over the winter, that's probably good for the evergreens because in the last couple of years, the soil moisture has gotten too high for the evergreens and we basically had some evergreens that basically drowned over the last couple of years. So this kind of weather is good for the evergreens."

      The warm weather has helped humans as well -- park and cemetery staff have been able to get a jump start on maintenance projects due to the lack of snow removal.