PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — It is now officially spring, which means Pennsylvania’s trees will soon be green. Some have already started sprouting tiny buds that will grow into leaves in no time. So when will the green world you’ve been missing all winter finally return?
Warming air temperatures along with warming soil temperatures trigger leaf growth to begin, explained Ryan Reed, natural resource program specialist in the Bureau of Forestry communications section for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The magic number for soil temperature to initiate leaf growth is around 50 degrees, many gardening sites suggest.
Reed says with temperatures this year staying warmer through the end of winter and the start of spring, “I would expect to see leaves on some trees here in the next couple of weeks.”
Northern hardwood trees like maples and birches tend to get their leaves earlier than more southern species like oaks and hickories, Reed said, but with southern regions of Pennsylvania getting warmer first, trees across the state generally grow leaves around the same time.
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Breaking up the green leaves, Pennsylvania is also home to some native species of flowering trees and shrubs like serviceberries, eastern redbuds, and flowering dogwoods, Reed noted. Serviceberries will often bloom before other trees get their leaves, he said.
“These are, I feel like, harbingers of spring, the serviceberry being the first that you would see in bloom. And they’re very showy white beautiful flowers,” Reed said. As far as leafy trees go, Reed says silver maples start showing their buds first, letting people know that “spring’s right around the corner.”
It can take about a month — give or take depending on the species — for a bud to develop into a full leaf, Reed said.
“[We have] a tremendous resource in Pennsylvania in our forests, and I always want to make sure that I encourage people to get out and experience it,” Reed said.