Spring Is Arriving Early in Many Parts of the Country, New Weather Report Shows

The South and Southeast are having their earliest start to the season in 40 years.

If you love spring gardening and are currently prepping your checklist in anticipation of warmer weather, you actually might be a little behind the game this year. In many parts of the United States, flowers and trees are already starting to bloom—even though previous spring weather predictions stated that there were six more weeks of winter in store, CNN reports. According to a report by the National Phenology Network, many areas in the South and Southeast are experiencing their earliest spring in 40 years, as leaves are budding on trees up to three weeks early.

The early start to spring is tied to 2023's record-breaking weather conditions. Southern and southeastern states are currently experiencing their top-10 warmest years to date. The same goes for regions in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including Philadelphia and New York City, which are also seeing a record warm start to the year (they expect to see blooms in the coming weeks).

backyard flowers blooming in spring time
Rosemary Calvert / Getty Images

Plants are likely blooming early because they are sensitive to shifts in temperature, humidity, and rainfall, says Megan O'Connell, a research associate with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas told CNN. "They're sensitive to photo periods; so the sun and things like that," she says. "They're responding to these kinds of triggers in the environment, these cues that the climate is giving them."

Unfortunately, a consistently early spring—or one that arrives late, which is what western regions anticipate this year—is a sign of climate change. As temperatures continue to rise and fluctuate, its more important than ever to protect flora and pollinators, researchers explain. "While things are getting warmer, the weather is also getting more erratic. And so, plants and animals are responding to these kinds of chaotic weather patterns all very differently," O'Connell says. "It's not that we're going to see everything just move forward together. It seems like species are all responding differently, which is the reason we're seeing a lot of these kinds of mismatching trends."

To support the wildlife around you, consider starting a native plant garden in your backyard. "You can create little pollinator resorts for them throughout the year. Look up different species of flowers that flower at different times in the season, and then plant flowers so that you can provide food to them all season," O'Connell says.

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