Signs of Early Spring

signs of early spring

Southeast and Mid-Atlantic residents have seen early blooming daffodils and forsythia blooming unseasonably early this spring. Frogs have begun singing, while new grass has sprouted.

Now is the time to shake off that winter blues and begin looking for signs that spring is around the corner! Below are a few early indicators and tick them off your list as you explore.

1. Forsythia

Forsythia is one of the surefire indicators of early spring. Its bright yellow blooms usually precede its leaves’ appearance, and their profuse blooming period typically lasts two or three weeks – often signaling winter’s end, as well as signalling early planting season opportunities such as planting peas.

Forsythia, more commonly referred to as “golden bells,” is an iconic landmark in any landscape and can often be found along roadways, backyards and city parks. An easy-to-grow shrub that requires minimal care – perfect for beginners as it tolerates colder temperatures without pruning requirements!

Flowers on Forsythia varieties like Forsythia x intermedia ‘Kolgold’ and Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Variety’ produce larger flower heads than their counterparts, typically appearing between April and July.

Forsythias grow on “old wood,” meaning their flower buds form from last year’s growth. Pruning at an inopportune time of year can remove their brilliant yellow blooms as well as delay or prevent the next season’s flowers from emerging. You can force forsythia flowers into bloom by forcing them indoors late winter with this video from Chicago Botanic Garden’s Project Bud Burst program – watch how to do it here.

2. Birds

Bird calls are one of the first indicators that spring has arrived, whether they be nesting in hollow trees or chasing off interlopers from their territory. You’ll hear skylarks, song thrushes and robins chattering away early each morning as they prepare to lay their eggs and begin the new season.

Fluttering butterflies are often an indicator of spring. Watch for monarchs emerging from warmer southern climates after overwintering there and look out for lesser celandine (Pseudacris crucifera) blooming between February and March – they add brilliant splashes of colour to woodland, hedgerows and gardens alike!

As soon as temperatures warm up enough, frogs emerge from hibernation to breed in ponds and wetlands. Here in the UK we can watch frogspawn and toadspawn form from January until March; their distinctive jelly-like appearance provides one of nature’s great spectacles.

Birds will be searching for food as they transition from their winter roosts and migrate north for breeding purposes. Keep an eye out for dark-eyed juncos as they migrate out of Ohio and other southern areas towards Canada, while white-throated sparrows have begun arriving from their southern breeding grounds to Canada as white-throated sparrows have moved north from there. Woodpecker drumming also signals territory marking and mating rituals – you might hear woodpecker drumming to mark territories or attract mates; woodpecker drumming marks out territory while marking out territories and mating rituals can attract mates – plus queen bumblebee colonies may emerge from underground cells this time as queen bumblebee colonies are disbanding to breed their colonies!

3. Trees

Springtime ushers in with deciduous trees flowering, ushering in warmer temperatures and milder plants just around the corner. In woodland areas, look out for bundles of yellow lesser celandine flowers in February and March that light up woodland floors like an explosion of vibrant hues – this signal that warmer weather and milder plants are on their way!

Magnolia trees are revered early spring bloomers. There are over 210 species and cultivars belonging to this genus with large shrubs or flowering trees spanning their width. At The Planting Company, we carry several early-blooming magnolias that can fit seamlessly into any landscape setting.

Japanese magnolias (Magnolia liliiflora) and hybrid varieties like saucer magnolias (Magnolia x soulangiana ‘Alexandrina’) typically begin their bloom in March, depending on temperature fluctuations; making them one of the earliest-blooming trees in our area and making beautiful additions to gardens or landscapes.

Redbud trees with their clusters of pink blossoms signal spring’s arrival. Available both upright and weeping varieties, these trees make an excellent specimen tree or can be planted as part of a mixed border in our region. We suggest cultivars like “Don Egolf”, “Appalachian Red”, and “Don Negolf”, which boast brighter blooms than other redbud varieties.

As winter begins to fade and days become longer, take note of songbirds coming back out from hibernation. From late winter through early spring, male black-capped chickadees will return with their sweet two-note song. Listen out for them in your neighborhood or backyard!

4. Butterflies

As days lengthen and temperatures warm, insects begin to emerge from hibernation and begin to fly again. At first sighting, spring azures (Panolium juvenal), our first flying butterflies, may appear. Overwintering as pupae attached to host plants means these pupae could emerge as early as February or March – look out for them in woodlands, hedgerows and gardens during this period!

Bumblebees flitting around your flower beds are surefire telltales of an awakening season – during this period, queen bees search out suitable sites to dig their new nest holes. Lesser celandine flowers also signal warmer times ahead; look out for bundles of these yellow blooms in woodlands, hedgerows and gardens as they compete for nutrients with any potential weed growth that might otherwise appear. Not only are these blooms an indicator that spring is coming but they may help stop its proliferation by competing against its nutrients source!

Keep your ears peeled for the chirping of black-capped chickadees as late winter and early spring approaches, and listen for their two-note song that has been described as sounding similar to “cheeseburger” and “my tree.” As more seasons progress, their chorus will only increase as male chickadees pair off and reproduce.

Signs that spring has arrived include the revitalized ponds and wetlands that appear as the snow melts, along with the arrival of frogs laying their jelly-like eggs in them. While spring officially begins on 20th March, its transition actually began early in February.

5. Alder

Spotted alder (Alnus incana) catkins become bright yellow as their pollen release occurs, producing striking visual displays.

Alder is a deciduous shrub or small tree found throughout its range; however, in wetter environments its evergreen characteristics become apparent. Its root system serves to stabilize stream banks while being fully immersed in floodwater without uprooting. Its bark is rough and brownish-gray while the undersides of its dark green glossy leaves feature serrulate edges rounded off to obtuse angles or even pointed at their tips. Alder also forms relationships with bacteria in its roots to increase soil fertility, making less fertile areas accessible by alder-fixation; therefore enhancing less fertile environments by increasing nitrogen.

Early spring sees male speckled alder catkins hang from the branches of alder trees like colorful ornaments. Each catkin comprises three to five stamens with yellow pollen-coated anthers, pollinated by wind pollination and fertilized female flowers eventually producing woody cones.

Alder seeds are dispersed by both wind and water, making it one of the last plants to shed their leaves each fall. Alder provides shelter to a diverse array of wildlife such as carnivorous harvester butterflies that feed off its larval food source; other butterflies like the spruce budworm, tiger swallowtail, pallid tiger swallowtail, green comma mourning cloak all use alder trees as larval food sources as well. Goldfinches and grouse also find shelter within its branches – making alder an invaluable habitat.

6. Snowdrops

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are among the first signs of spring, appearing through snow or near bare ground as reminders that warmer, sunnier days lie ahead.

Snowdrops have long been associated with hope, perseverance and renewal – representing nature’s beauty and resilience in many cultures. Legend has it that an angel presented Adam and Eve with snowdrop flowers as gifts after they were expelled from paradise – providing them with the assurance that winter would soon give way to spring.

These beautiful flowers look lovely when combined with cyclamen, hellebores and ferns in the shade garden. Their naturalization process occurs through self-seeding and bulb offsets; making them great additions to rock gardens, troughs and raised beds alike. You can either mass plant them for an eye-catching display, or scatter them throughout the yard–in front of shrubs and under trees–as desired.

As spring progresses, look out for crocuses and daffodils in parklands – even early blooming varieties have been seen in NYC parks as early as mid-February! Also keep your eyes peeled for warblers and songbirds migrating towards their breeding grounds; lucky individuals might spot woodcock (also called timberdoodle) hunting their prey in meadows and grasslands!

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