Friday, March 7, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
The East End boat launch on July 9, 2012
2012 Press Herald file/Tim Greenway
The East End boat launch on Jan. 5, 2013
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Maine's potato crop was affected by weather, too, but more by rain than high temperatures. While the 2011 crop was beset by wet weather that contributed to rot, 2012 was dry, which stunted potato growth. Jim Dwyer, a potato crop specialist with the University of Maine's Cooperative Extension in Houlton, said gradual warming is not as much of a problem as extreme fluctuations in weather.
David Yarborough, a wild blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said the weather overall in 2012 was good for blueberry production, but weather is only one piece of the puzzle. Even though mild weather is generally good, it sometimes has side effects, too.
"Warmer weather brings more insects and the possibility of disease," he said. "If there is warmer weather in the fall, next year's buds don't harden early enough and that can be a problem."
A warm winter and wet spring in 2012 also resulted in many more pests attacking gardens across Maine, according to James Dill, a pest management specialist with the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Orono. Some of the pests were perennial pests such as slugs and ticks, but others were pests new to Maine and had the potential to cause major problems for both home gardeners and commercial farmers.
The warmer weather also had some positive effects. An analysis by the Portland Press Herald last October revealed that, as a whole, Maine winters are milder now than they were 100 years ago, especially within the last decade. That means Mainers likely spent less money to heat their homes in 2012.
Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: