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Closeup of the center and partial petals of a deep yellow sunflower.

Signs for Early Spring Tree Care

One of the things you can count on in New England is that no two springs are alike! I recall last year with temps in the low 80’s and it was only mid-March, and early spring tree care began, well, early! As I write at the beginning of April, we’ve had a tough time getting above 40 degrees. Aside from how we feel in our day-to-day routines, perhaps anticipating the last oil delivery or the arrival of true mud season – we have to wonder about the trees and early spring tree care. I’m looking out my window at them now. They look pretty bored, I would be too. It’s been a long winter.
While still in their dormant state, trees are most affected by spring’s warmer temperatures.  However, the length of the day also plays a major role in the tree’s “release from dormancy”. I can only imagine that the tree is pretty happy when this occurs, sort of like when a kid is released from a “time out”, or the first day following some crazy diet you just completed.
Back to the tree… when we have a gradual warming, it’s actually good for the tree. One of the most challenging things for trees is when they get tricked into breaking dormancy too soon with an early warm-up.  Buds open and small fragile leaves emerge. Winter-like cold returns and these leaves and buds are damaged, requiring the tree to rely on secondary buds. A loan is secured from the tree’s stored energy; putting the tree at risk should another “energy required” emergency arise, such as a defoliating insect.
So the next time you are near some nice trees (please don’t be nice to River birch*), assure them that spring will come soon, and it will be worth the wait!
*River birches are not on my list of favorite trees; stick to White birch or if you want a willow-like birch, go ahead and try the River birch, just not too near the house!

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