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Fall Flowers on Forsythia and Other Spring Bloomers

A forsythia bloom in fall?  It’s not as unusual as you think.

Many spring flowering plants like lilac, forsythia, dogwood, apple, and pear will produce a few if not many flowers in fall.  I once saw a Callery pear in full bloom in late October.  This usually occurs when cooler temperatures follow a hot dry or otherwise stressful summer.  The plants are “tricked’ into reacting like it’s spring and put out a few blossoms.

No need to be concerned.  Those blooms won’t re-flower next spring but the other flower buds and your tree should be fine.  Just make sure it, and all your other plants, receive sufficient moisture during droughts. 

This may be a good reminder to mulch trees and shrubs if needed.  A 2 to 3 inch layer of shredded bark or woodchips over the soil surface, not on the trunks or stems, conserves moisture, moderates soil temperature, and helps suppress weeds.

A bit more information:  Prune spring flowering shrubs, if needed, right after their spring floral display.   You can control their growth without interfering with next year’s bloom.  Major renovations can be done in late winter.  Though you will be sacrificing some of the bloom, it will be less stressful on the plant and easier on you.  And be sure save some of the stems to force indoors for a colorful treat!


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