Feb 29, 2024 - News

How Iowa's warm February is changing the environment

Illustration of a beach chair an umbrella in a snow globe.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Iowa's unseasonably warm February has brought little anomalies that are changing our plant life, according to the Iowa DNR.

Warm weather takeaways:

  1. Insects and pathogens have emerged early, Tivon Freeley, Iowa DNR's forest health leader, tells Axios. That means all oak tree pruning needs to stop for the year to prevent the spread of oak wilt.
  2. Iowa's maple syrup season was shortened. Sap flow happens while it's in the 40s during the day and freezing at night
  3. Buds are already swelling on trees. That could increase the risk of branch damage if there's a late spring snowfall.

And here are your takeaways:

  • "The house sparrows that live on my front porch are starting to build their nests and I want to put a little sign on their nest that says 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!'" — Lydia Fine, North Liberty
  • "I've finished spring clean up in my yard, so I have to store five bags of yard waste until April." — Mark Carlson, West Des Moines
  • "I am missing the cold and the warm sun at the same time. The word: 'apricity' — the warmth of the sunshine in winter." — Sarah Betts Susanin, Des Moines
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Des Moines.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Des Moines stories

No stories could be found

Des Moinespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more