Early Blooms Good for Bees

The earliest blooming shrub in my yard is this cold-hardy Nanking cherry.

Last week I wrote about the Cherry Blossom festival in Washington being two weeks ahead of schedule because the trees are already in full bloom.

The same thing is happening in my backyard with a mini-version of the annual event.

The lovely white flowers on the Nanking cherry shrub burst open late last week, two weeks ahead of schedule.

In one way this early blooming is a good thing. I noticed quite a few honeybees enjoying this early-season source of food.  I also appreciate being able to look out my office window and see something so beautiful where empty branches stood just a week ago.

But it’s a worry, too. Is this a warning signal about a warming climate?

Many other people are asking that question, too. That’s why citizen science efforts promoted by Project BudBurst are important. This national project tracks the “firsts” of trees, plants and shrubs across the country when gardeners start up their gardening efforts each season. The organization’s Cherry Blossom Blitz is going on right now. If you have a cherry tree nearby that you can observe, you can join in between now and April 30.

This cherry blossom observation event gives scientists data that will help them track changes and monitor trends in our environment.

Do you have a cherry tree you can observe either in your yard or neighborhood? If so, I know you’re already helping the honeybees, and I hope you’ll want to help science as well.


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