Is the unusual warm weather harming our trees?

This unusual warm weather stretch in the beginning of winter isn't just confusing to us. Some say it's also confusing the plants. 

Meteorologist Derek Kevra dug into whether the weather can actually trick the trees.

Josh Leo from the Davey Tree Experts confirms that even though most trees can defend against our crazy weather patterns, others aren't so lucky.

"It can stress them out and you may have to look at doing alternate things for them, either extra water, more fertilization for the plant. It could affect bloom cycles," he said. 

Annuals and perennials, you know, the smaller guys, are the most vulnerable. 

"So those plants will start to kind of pull up, thinking that it's spring time. They'll poke through there and then all of a sudden we get hit with two, three inches of snow and now we have dead annuals or perennials."

Think of plants and trees kind of like your cell phone battery. The winter is the time for them to recharge. So, if it's warmer longer into the season, more stress is put on "the battery."

Michigan native plants are more used to our weather patterns, and tend to be more resilient. The USDA has developed what's called a Hardiness Zone Map, which identifies which plants are best for your region. We're classified as 6A.

"Our hardiness zone here, we normally run a 6. If you bring something in that's an 8 or a 9, from, say, the Carolinas or Florida, that is, right now, these plants are going to try and start waking up during this," Leo said. 

While one warm winter may impact certain plants, Leo says it would take multiple warm winters in a row to change our zone. But, it could happen. 

"You would have a certain amount of plants dying off because they couldn't evolve, and then you'd have others that would survive and go on and our hardiness zone would change, so that would mean our plantings in Michigan would change," he said.