Warm winter weather triggers early bloom, but has downside

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Friday, January 30, 2015
Warm winter weather triggers early bloom, but there's a downside
The explosion of blossoms is all around the South Bay. It's Mother Nature's way of signaling spring is here, earlier than normal.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- What a treat for the eyes. Trees that are in full bloom and it's still January.

Trees in hilly areas where they get day-long sun exposure seem to think it's spring already.

This explosion of blossoms is happening widely across the Santa Clara Valley. It's Mother Nature's way of signaling spring is here, earlier than normal.

"I would say maybe 10 to 15 days ahead of what's normal for what I've seen," said Nick Esquivel.

Esquivel is with Almaden Valley Nursery. He says some trees and plants are on schedule like magnolias and certain species of camellias. But the Camellia japonica is early this year.

And where there are blooms, there are bees. Many of them are already hard at work.

Several days of warm temperatures may be triggering this.

A molecule inside flowering trees called the FT protein initiate the spring growth spurt.

"I mean, look at this day. I wish it was raining, but it's not, and if it's not going to be raining, I can live with this. This is good," said Rob Komas, a Willow Glenn resident, talking about the early bloom.

However, the ABC7 News weather team says January temperatures this year have averaged four degrees lower than January last year.

And it's not just trees that are ahead of season.

"I saw some bucks that were dropping antlers early, which usually they'll drop in mid-February. I saw some that dropped this past week. So that was pretty neat to see that, and it is definitely showing everywhere that spring is early," said Esquivel.

However, there is a downside to early blossoms. Freezing temperatures could damage the buds and blooms. And for fruit trees, that could impact yield.

"The freezing temperature has to be that high on the tree to effect it, so usually freezing temperature is closer to ground. The higher you go up on the tree, the less chance you have of having cooler temperature up there," said Esquivel.

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