Did spring come early? | The Evergreen Arborist

Have you ever wondered about Mother Nature’s ability to coordinate her activities as the weather warms and her world begins to awaken?

Have you ever wondered about Mother Nature’s ability to coordinate her activities as the weather warms and her world begins to awaken?

I have kept track of certain events in my own landscape for the past four years. I have recorded the approximate dates of when blossoms begin to open, when they are in full bloom and when they have fallen on various trees and shrubs.

For the curious, below are a few observations to ponder while awaiting the various seasons that occur throughout the year.

Was spring early this year?

Flowering plums are always the earliest and apples are the latest to bloom in my yard. These trees also demonstrated the greatest variance during the last four years. The earliest blossom opening occurred in late February, 2015, while 2013 was a late spring with flowers first appearing in mid-March.

It generally took four to six days for the plum trees to come into full bloom. The blossoms had completely disappeared after another 10 to 12 days.

A magnolia tree experienced the same kind of variance while blossom break on ornamental cherries, an apple, an Italian plum and some rhododendrons only ranged around five to seven days between early and late springs.

The answer to the question is that this spring qualified as an early spring, but not quite as early as 2015. The differences between early and late springs on the plums was around two weeks during the past four years.

How long do the blossoms last?

The answer is a surprisingly short period of time.

The shortest bloom period was from the apple and Italian plum trees that averaged about two weeks. The longest period was about three weeks for the flowering plum, the ornamental cherries and the rhododendrons. The magnolia blossoms lasted between three and four weeks.

Summarizing the data from my yard, the spring bloom generally begins in early to mid-March and is finished by late March to early- to mid-April. Over the years the difference between early and late springs has been approximately two weeks.

How long is the actual growing season?

On deciduous trees, the leaves begin to emerge as the flower blossoms begin to dissipate. The length of the growing season varies widely with the different species. Generally, most of the new growth of leaves and twigs occurs during April, May and into June. Once this has been completed, virtually no new growth will occur until the following spring.

Many conifer species like Douglas fir break bud in late April and continue to grow until the new growth hardens off in early July. Generally, no further growth occurs until the next spring.

Dennis Tompkins, a Bonney Lake resident, is an ISA certified arborist and ISA qualified tree risk assessor. He provides small tree pruning, pest diagnosis, hazard tree evaluations, tree appraisals and other services for homeowners. Contact him at 253-863-7469 or email dlt@blarg.net. Website: evergreen-arborist.com.