|Forsythia bush in full bloom. Picture taken March 19, 2012.|
So what does this bizarre weather mean to you and your turf? The weather is well ahead of normal and agronomic practices will need to occur sooner than normal as a result. Avoid the temptation to schedule activities solely base on the calendar because this spring has been anything but normal.
Growing degree days (GDD) can help give you an idea of how unusual this spring is shaping up to be. GDD’s are a measure of heat accumulation and are used to predict plant and pest development rates. Daily maximum and minimum temperatures are used along with a base temperature to calculate a GDD value for each day. Below are two maps showing accumulated GDD’s from March 1 through March 20 for 2011 and 2012. As far as GDD’s go, most parts of the state have accumulated 2 to 3 times the number of GDD’s as this same time last year. In fact, it took until April 10 last season to accumulate the number of GDD’s we have experienced so far.
|Growing degree day comparison from March 1 to March 20 for 2011 and 2012.|
Iowa State University