Here in Indiana, we're having an extremely early spring. Right now, we're about three weeks ahead of schedule, with temps in the 70's and even into the low 80's. We've broken temperature records for about 8 days in a row now.
The other day, one of our employees noticed that some of the trees in the area are in full flower while others are still completely dormant. Have you noticed this, too? We thought we'd explain some of the reasons behind this phenomenon.
What we are experiencing with this uneven blooming is primarily caused by the early spring. While some plants respond to temperature, others do not. The three main directors of tree response are:
One thing of note: Even though the air and soil temperatures are extremely warm for this time of year, it would be foolish to forget to consider the last frost date. In our area, we'll still be in danger of hard frosts until May 12th. Don't look outside, think warm and plant your tomatoes quite yet. They would be destroyed by a frost. Two years ago, we had a very warm March but an unexpectedly cold April. We could still experience winter weather this year! Protect your seedlings inside for a few more weeks.
As far as the flowers on your fruit trees, if the frost destroys the flowers AFTER they have been pollinated, no real harm will have been done, because the frost won't harm the fruit much. However, IF the frost comes before the bees reach your trees, the flowers will be destroyed and that will mean less fruit this year. Encourage your bees!
As always, if you have questions about your trees, contact us at the office! We're passionate about trees and we'd be happy to come take a look at yours.
Jeff Ling is a Registered Consulting Arborist and Co-Founder of TreeMasters, Inc., a full service arbor-care company, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. TreeMasters provides tree owners with scientific tree management services throughout Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio.