The earliest spring on record? How warm temperatures are affecting plants

The earliest spring on record? How warm temperatures are affecting plants

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When looking around your backyard or driving around town, you may have noticed extra greenery and blooms on trees and bushes. According to the National Phenology Network (NPN), much of the southeastern United States is seeing spring bloom about three weeks early.

According to the NPN, The First Leaf Index is based on the leaf out of lilacs and honeysuckles, which are among the first plants to show their leaves in the spring. This index is associated with the first leafing of early-spring shrubs and other plants.

“The growing season looks like its at an early start and the reason for that is because we really haven’t had those dips in the jet stream that bring that cold Canadian air into the southeast US,” said Meteorologist Steve Pfaff with the National Weather Service. “It’s pretty much just been moving west to east so when we do get some cold downs and basically doesn’t last that long.”

This time in February, we tend to see about 33 days of temperatures getting to the freezing mark, but this winter we’ve had just nine.

“All over the past few decades we’ve been warming and seeing warmer winters than colder ones. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a cold outbreak, but until that jet stream changes, it looks like for the most part warm weather is here for the rest of the winter.”

Steven Smith, Airlie Gardens Grounds Maintenance Supervisor, says it’s hard to tell what this early budding means for the severity of allergy season, but it will most likely be starting sooner because of the pollen already being released.

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