Some have said we have only two seasons in Louisiana, green and brown. And since we've gone from winter brown to spring green, you wonder, "Who flipped the switch?"
But in between, especially this time of year, you'll get all of the colors in between. The spring blooming tends to last longer here along the Gulf Coast. Some years starting in late January and going through June. But a significant winter storm and deep freeze late in the season, took out anything that was trying to bloom. Today, as the trees turn green, all of the blooming is happening at the same time. Plants can't read a calendar, they just know.
Marcus Descant says, "They're really good at it. they monitor the color of the light, the angle of the sun, and the length of the day. And through that they can tell exactly what time of the year it is, and what activity they should be doing."
Those changes, of course coming as the Earth revolves around the sun. The northern hemisphere is transitioning to getting more exposure to the sun this time of year because of the angle of our axis. The opposite happens in the fall. Days now are getting longer, compared to the shorter days of winter. But there's still the weather element. Descant adds, "Well it all has to happen, it all has to line up. It you have the length of the day, but you don't have the heat, then you're not going to work."
Everything seems to be coming together now. Just take a look at the breathtaking colors in just one neighborhood. The Azaleas, literally exploding. The bright yellow Jasmine, stretching along a fence, climbing high into the trees. The fresh green leaves. And the oak trees, dark green all winter, shedding their old leaves, and then sprouting the new ones. Although the carpet of brown is in the mix as the pollen starts to fall. Other blooming trees and flowers causing misery for those with allergies.
Have you ever heard the old wives tales about Pecan trees being able to help you avoid a spring freeze? Descant says, "It's convenient that they picked the latest tree to leaf out." But should you wait? "If you wait for them, you won't see a frost, but you'll also be a little late on your tomatoes. I start at least a month before, and I just have a bucket ready for things" . And waiting could mean a battle with insects by the summer. "You know gardening is gambling, you want to hedge your bets in multiple directions. Spread your odds."