Parts of Central U.S. seeing leaves weeks ahead of schedule

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With a spell of near record warmth coming to the Upper Midwest over the next week, many are wondering if it will cause plants and trees to leaf-out too early. The short answer is “No.” According to WQAD News 8’s plant and gardening expert Craig Hignight, “What will happen as the frost deep in the ground melts, the water will be soaked up into the trees to produce earlier buds. These buds still have plenty of time before they will leaf out.” However, a few years ago an early stretch of 80 degree temperatures in March caused a lot of trees to leaf-out completely.

Usually, things green up in the Quad Cities during the first few weeks of April. The grass will turn green with warm weather as early as March. And with our forecast temperatures in the 60s, we may even see some grass start to sprout up in the coming weeks.

As far as trees leafing-out, that is in progress across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky. According to the National Phenology Network, that is about 20 days ahead of schedule. If temperatures remain above normal into March, that could mean that it turns out to be a very green month around here.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen
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