Spring Out of Whack? In NYC blooms appearing too early

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Global warming is in full bloom this early spring as New York City plant and animal life is showing up earlier than expected. With over a thousand weather records broken around the United States and New Yorkers donning spring attire since February, it is no surprise that the local ecosystem is confused.

Botanical gardens and green spaces around the city are lush with spring colors that, according to some park-affiliated organizations, are a week to a month too early. Even early bloom flowers, such as yellow tulips that usually start emerging in March, have reached their full bloom and wilted.

Cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (BBG) have been blooming with heavy pink flowers since early this month, when they are normally expected in mid-April just in time for BBG's Sakura Matsuri, the annual Cherry Blossom and Japanese Culture Festival hosted on April 28th and 29th. Visitors will also see wisteria and azealas and lilacs, things they would not have been able to smell and appreciate last spring.

Other botanical gardens, such as Snug Harbor Culture Center and Botanical Garden in Staten Island, report plants that have shown up a month early. The magnolias are in full bloom, and the cherry trees outside of the Chinese Garden have brought forth a rush of pinks and reds. According to the good folks at Snug Harbor, the early flowers have increased visitation this time of year. BBG reports a similar trend.

Joel D. Greifenberger, Board of Directors' president of the New York State Arborist Society committee, Greg Lord, horticulturist at Sung Harbor and Chris Roddick, arborist at BBG, all agree that the early blooms might not have immediate consequences, but there are fears of a sudden cold snap that might kill off the trees. With the t-shirt and shorts winter we have had, seems like Mother Nature might pull one over us and send ice storms our way in later months.

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