As much as we all love to see beautiful blooms right at the start of spring, sometimes a tree just isn’t quite ready yet. Trees have the ability to “sense” that it’s time to grow in spring by measuring the duration of light in a day and detecting a change in temperature. If the environment is right, they’ll start to sprout. But if it’s not, trees protect themselves by waiting for the right moment. They could also be suffering from some unseen circumstances that keep them from blooming as well.

How Trees Know to Grow

Three key factors determine the time frame of when a tree will bloom.

  1. Available daylight hours: During winter, when the nights are long and dark, a tree can tell there’s not enough daylight to break bud. As the nights get shorter and daylight sticks around longer, a tree slowly but surely discovers when there’s enough light to start growing.
  2. Growing degree days: Also called GDDs, this is a way of guesstimating when a plant will grow in spring. Basically, every tree has a base temperature, or, the minimum temperature it needs to be before the tree can grow. Take that, and consider the average temperature of days throughout spring, and you can calculate the general time window a tree will start and finish sprouting.
  3. Genetics: They vary from tree to tree, and they play a role in growth rate. In other words, you shouldn’t fret if your neighbor’s tree is blooming and yours is bare—they just have different DNA!

What About Once my Tree DOES Bloom?

Trees do a lot of work on their own to successfully leaf out in spring, but there are a few things they need from you.

  1. See if all the branches came back to life, or pinpoint any dead or damaged spots. These may need to be removed soon in the future.
  2. Work with your arborist to set up a pruning schedule. Pruning isn’t just a “one and done” kind of job, it’s an essential practice that keeps trees free of dead, diseased or unsafe branches. These types of ongoing services are critical to tree health
  3. Mulch your tree to help retain moisture, and fertilize to supplement the necessary nutrients. You don’t want to overdo it but the general rule of thumb is that a little won’t hurt.

What to do With Late Bloomers…

If your tree’s not leafing out when you expected, just give it a little time to get there. A tree not blooming in early spring isn’t an automatic red flag. In fact, not leafing out might be exactly what a tree needs to do to avoid potential damage from a late frost, which has been an issue over the past few years. To drive the point home just one more time, trees need to wait for the right elements before they put out new growth.

Now if you get a few months into spring and see no change in your trees, it might be time to call an Echo Hills tree service. We should be able to get out to your property within a few days at most and we can take a very in-depth look at your tree and figure out why it may not be blooming. We have a number of professional arborists that handle a lot of tree preservation services, they’ll know where to start with your Charlotte trees

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