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The weather is finally getting warmer, the sun is shining, and the days are longer.  Soon, trees will have their bright green leaves again. When does that typically happen?

Trees know when it’s time to break out their leaves again.  One way a tree knows is the warmer weather, especially after long cold periods.  A tree also knows it’s time to bud when the days get longer and there’s more sunlight for them to collect for energy.  Trees in the south typically begin to bloom about mid March.

When autumn hits, trees prepare for the harsh winters by going dormant, and protecting their buds with a harder shell.  The trees are still very much alive, but relatively inactive to survive on the energy they’ve stored all summer. Most trees have an internal timer that they set themselves to make sure they aren’t tricked into budding too early.  Many times, there’s a period of warm rains to thaw the out the ground, and then along comes one more freeze before spring. By having a set time of dormancy, trees can protect their young fresh shoots from any damage that final freeze may cause.  

Native trees are used to the change in the temperature in their area because they’ve been through the seasons before, and are able to adapt.  It’s important to not plant trees outside of the normal range of what they’re used to, as they can suffer. Changes in the temperature can also confuse and damage the new buds of the tree as well.  

Global warming can also have an effect on how soon a tree will break bud for the spring.  Too many changes in temperature can confuse a tree and make it harder for the tree to know when it’s time to bud.  If you have a tree in your yard that is not budding around the same time it would normally bud, it may be time to call an arborist to come out and make sure the tree is healthy.

Tree leaves in your neighborhood should be coming out and enjoying the spring weather, and so should you!