May 6, 2014 3:42 pm

Where’s the green? Slowest start to spring in many years

WATCH ABOVE: The mosquito-like pest abound this season thanks to last year’s wet Summer and Fall. Peter Kim reports.

TORONTO – Do you remember looking out your window last May and seeing the blue skies and green leaves? How about this year?

If you’re like a lot of people, you’re likely tired of looking out your window at the brown, broken, and seemingly lifeless branches of trees that dot the streets. Though some buds are making a slow appearance, they seem to be taking their sweet time.

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Tom Hildebrand, a forester with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority said that it’s not as bad as it may seem.

“We’re not really that far behind,” he told Global News. “Last year was exceptionally early, the last couple of springs have been early… We’re maybe a week behind what would be considered the normal for the last 10-15 years.”

According to Environment Canada, the daily average temperature for Toronto in the month of April is 7.1. The past few years have indeed, been either close to average or significantly higher: in 2010 the daily mean temperature for the month of April was an incredible 10.5 C. In 2009, it was 7.8 and 2008, 9.5. From 2011 to 2013, it was closer to average. But this April it was a full degree colder. The last time that happened was 2007.

This spring has gotten off to a slow start, in part due to the long and cold winter we had.

“The trends that we saw from the winter to the first part of the spring, it’s just been a continuation,” Geoff Coulson, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada told Global News.

Coulson said he’s noticed the buds just starting to emerge on the trees. “There’s a beautiful cherry blossom tree…and those cherry blossoms are just finally starting to come out,” Coulson said. “They’re not out, but they’re starting.”

In Toronto’s High Park, the cherry blossom watch is in full swing. According to High Park Toronto‘s website, the blooms are still two weeks away. “Cold mornings and high winds don’t help out this spring.”

Hildebrand said that, though the leaves aren’t out yet on the trees just yet, that’s close to normal for this time of year. Also, he stressed that the growth of trees isn’t really tied to temperature, but more to the length of the day.

Last year on May 1, there was at least some green on the trees.

Nicole Mortillaro

The trees may also be dealing with the effects of the ice storm at the end of December. Though the trees wouldn’t have lost any of the stored energy they would need in the spring, the buds would typically be located at the top branches — the ones that were damaged. That wouldn’t be seen so much in forests, but more so in our backyards or on the streets.

“A slow spring is always better than an early one,” Hildebrand said. That’s because in an early spring the buds may begin to come out, but the insects aren’t around to pollinate them.

Coulson said that temperatures are expected to continue to be a degree or so below normal.

As for what’s ahead, Coulson said that for now, forecasters are calling for more seasonal temperatures in July.

“Again, that’s a long look into the future, and things could change by then.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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