What Happens If Trees Bud Too Early?

As temperatures begin to rise and the snow starts to melt, many Minnesotans are wondering – is winter really over? And while you are bewildered by the back and forth weather, your trees are likely just as confused. In fact, you might notice that your trees are beginning to bud even if it’s technically still winter. What does this mean? Is this problem? Let us try to explain!

Why do trees bud in the winter?

Every year, trees use seasonal weather as a way to maintain their growth cycle. Part of the cycle includes a dormant season for the tree to rest in cooler temperatures before it can safely produce new growth. When the dormant season is interrupted by unseasonably high temperatures, trees begin to grow as though spring has arrived. They may even begin to sprout leaves, flowers or even fruits, regardless of how short the dormant period was.

Is a tree budding too early a potential issue?

It can be extremely stressful for trees to experience early blooming. This is especially true if the tree has experienced extreme temperature swings in a short period of time. When this happens, new growth is shocked by the sudden freeze and can be damaged. Fruit and flower buds can be especially vulnerable, and can negatively affect the chances of the tree being able to bloom again. On the flip side, leaf buds are more likely to bounce back but may experience less growth or problems later in the summer. It’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for pests and diseases during this time and throughout the year.

What can I do if my trees start budding too early?

With a little care, in many cases, your trees can return to their typical growth pattern. Additionally, you can engage in some simple measures to help your trees cope and survive the onset of temperature fluctuation in winter. For starters, mulching the tree in the fall before the ground is frozen will keep it insulated until spring. Additionally, it’s very important that if you see a drop in temperature in the forecast to thoroughly water your tree the night before.

As always, for more information or if you aren’t sure if your tree is budding, contact a certified arborist! Also remember, there is still time to schedule your Plant Health Care Services today and prepare your yard for this spring and summer!