Despite some getting snow on Saturday, and a little more in store for parts of far northern Minnesota Sunday night, the spring green up has finally arrived. While there is still plenty of brown around, most of the grass has turned that nice shade of green that we all remember from last year. Well, many of the trees aren’t far behind. While there is still plenty of brown around, many trees are budding, and some are even beginning to leaf out which marks a critical time period for most plants.
While there is no cut and dry delineation to the start of our growing season, a good indicator of that is when buds start forming on our trees. This is a good marker that most or all of our vegetation is coming out of dormancy and won’t be long before the full on spring bloom takes hold. What makes this a critical time though is that most plants are most sensitive during the first couple of weeks after becoming active again in the spring. This is when they are most susceptible to drastic temperature and rainfall variances. Near steady temperatures above freezing with occasional rain are the ideal conditions for most plants.
While the late season snow has been an unwelcomed sight for many, our plants haven’t really seemed to mind. The average leaf out for much of southern & central Minnesota is roughly the 3rd or 4th week of April, with an early May start for much of the north. While “officially”, most areas may have been a few days behind average, overall it’s been a pretty typical start up to our growing season. The key now is, how fast can trees grow their leaves. Typically the warmer and wetter it is, the faster they grow, so the cool week ahead may prevent them from making a whole lot of headway in the coming days. That said, full leaf out doesn’t usually happen until Memorial Day weekend, or even later statewide, so there’s plenty of time for vegetation to play catch up when we really start to get warm in May.