Phenology

Many people tend to write down and keep track of certain annual events.  These events may include the sighting of the first robin of spring, or if you live on a lake, the ice out date.  For me in recent years, I have kept track of when my crabapple trees bloom.  A few years ago I moved, yet I still find myself every spring driving by those crabapple trees to continue my dating when they bloom each spring.  This recording of the timing of natural events is referred to as Phenology.

My former crabapple trees finally went into full bloom on Tuesday, May 27.  That is tied for the 2nd latest blooming in the 13 years I have been keeping track.  The latest during this period was last year when the trees fully bloomed on May 28.  Although this spring has been notably cold, it was not quite as harsh as what we recorded last year, although, in the end it only made a difference of one day in bloom date.  Of note, two other years during the past 13 years did those crabapple trees bloom on May 27.  Those were the springs of 2002 and 2008.  This means at least to the flowering trees, this spring has been similar to a couple of other springs in the past decade.

The earliest blooming of my former ornamental crabapple trees was on May 3, 2012.  If you recall, that was the year with the warmest winter on record for much of the area and the spring was quite mild as well.  The second earliest date during the the short time I have been keeping track of those trees occurred on May 7, 2005.  Although the flowers on trees this year came a good two weeks later than average and ice out on area lakes in Minnesota also came later than “normal”, spring has finally arrived, in fact, considering how warm it has been lately, you could almost say we skipped spring this year and jumped right into summer.

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Daryl Ritchison