“Trees” a crowd

 It’s not a “figleaf” of your imagination, it’s been a great year for blooming trees in the landscape this spring. From Dogwoods (pictured) to Redbuds, from Juneberry to Flowering Crabs (Malus), blooming trees in spring 2008 have drawn a crowd. Many people are noticing the color this year when in the past they might not have paid as close attention. Why? Is it because they’re driving slower due to gas prices? Maybe, but I doubt it. I tell you why after this brief commercial break where we together enjoy the splendor of a flowering Redbud whose whispy blooms are so wide open (usually they’re more reserved) it seems to be blushing……

 The reason for the flowering trees drawing a crowd and a lot of attention this year is the weather pattern. The past few springs we’ve had a significant early warm up causing the buds to swell or actual bud break. The warm up was usually followed by a cold snap followed by hot weather. This caused the flowering show to be short lived. This year’s weather pattern in West Michigan has been a slow warm up from winter (let’s call it frustratingly gradual) which hasn’t been great for us as people but it’s been great for the plants and flowering trees. With this gradual warm up, we’ve been in a pattern of cool below normal temperatures along with an active weather climate producing clouds and rain. The cool nights have been in the mid to upper 30’s to the 40 degree range. Except for one night a few weeks ago, we’ve avoided the killing hard 25 degree frosts that would wipe out the blooms in a night. The combination of cool and cloudy wet weather without 20 degree night time events has caused the flowering Crabs, Redbuds, Lilacs, Dogwoods, Ornamental Pears, Serviceberry and more to put on a show this year that if you’ve noticed, like many others, is a showstopper……because “trees” a crowd!

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