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chinandega81

When Does Spring Arrive in Florida?

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chinandega81

Obviously the calendar says March 21, but what criteria do you go by for it to "feel" like Spring has arrived in Florida or the subtropics?

If we go by daily average highs, it's tough in South Florida. The coolest high is 76 so we would have to pick a higher number, say 80...but that would be a more summerlike temperatures vs. Springtime temps. We could go by day length or sun angle, and that to me makes it "feel" like Spring sometime in March, which coincides with the calendar date. We could also go by when things start to first bloom...my favorite....I notice Hong Kong orchard trees begin to bloom in December...but that feels too early. Mango trees start to bloom here in late December and are in full bloom in January....but that is more a product of the cold stress that prompts the blooming, as well as many different varieties with different bloom times throughout the season.

If I had to go by plants alone, I would say maybe based on the leaf out of Tropical Almond trees (Terminalia catappa) or when the Starbust Clarodenrum blooms in late January/early February for South Florida? They seem to be the early pioneer bloomers, the first of the new year and usher in the many others that follow.

Perhaps the flowering of the Tabebuias?


I would like to hear what other types of indicators or plants people base their feeling off of other than just the equinox which at our latitude is quite different than it is "up north."

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JLM
30 minutes ago, chinandega81 said:

Obviously the calendar says March 21, but what criteria do you go by for it to "feel" like Spring has arrived in Florida or the subtropics?

If we go by daily average highs, it's tough in South Florida. The coolest high is 76 so we would have to pick a higher number, say 80...but that would be a more summerlike temperatures vs. Springtime temps. We could go by day length or sun angle, and that to me makes it "feel" like Spring sometime in March, which coincides with the calendar date. We could also go by when things start to first bloom...my favorite....I notice Hong Kong orchard trees begin to bloom in December...but that feels too early. Mango trees start to bloom here in late December and are in full bloom in January....but that is more a product of the cold stress that prompts the blooming, as well as many different varieties with different bloom times throughout the season.

If I had to go by plants alone, I would say maybe based on the leaf out of Tropical Almond trees (Terminalia catappa) or when the Starbust Clarodenrum blooms in late January/early February for South Florida? They seem to be the early pioneer bloomers, the first of the new year and usher in the many others that follow.

Perhaps the flowering of the Tabebuias?


I would like to hear what other types of indicators or plants people base their feeling off of other than just the equinox which at our latitude is quite different than it is "up north."

Im not so sure about South Florida, but for me in Northwest Florida spring has started when low temps stay consistently above 40F. We usually achieve this around March or April, usually March. 

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chad2468emr

Wondering the same for Central FL, since this is my first winter here and I'm used to SFL where it feels like summer as early as mid-Feb. (Though I do recall a 30 something low taking place in March in recent years) 

From what I've been able to gather through looking at Data, the greater Orlando area starts warming up mid-Fed to March as well, but it depends on the year, since lows in the 30's can pop up in Feb or early March. Judging from how this year is going, maybe we'll see lows staying out of the 30's by July? haha

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JEFF IN MODESTO

Here in Central California, spring starts on or about Feb 1st when our average daily high temp reaches 60f.

In Modesto , the coldest day of the year is usually Dec 31 when our average high temp is a chilly 55f and low of 38f. However, with the days length increasing we start warming quickly  in jan  and by first week of feb there are some trees starting to blossom and we rarely see a freeze after first week of feb.... though it does happen!

Edited by JEFF IN MODESTO
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chad2468emr
25 minutes ago, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

Here in Central California, spring starts on or about Feb 1st when our average daily high temp reaches 60f.

In Modesto , the coldest day of the year is usually Dec 31 when our average high temp is a chilly 55f and low of 38f. However, with the days length increasing we start warming quickly  in jan  and by first week of feb there are some trees starting to blossom and we rarely see a freeze after first week of feb.... though it does happen!

You're so lucky! I never thought in a million years winter and when it started to warm up again would be something I still worried about in FL, but here I am.... counting down the days to March. haha. 15+ nights hauling a 50 LB + potted coconut in and out of a house will do that to you though, I suppose. :wacko:

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Silas_Sancona
59 minutes ago, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

Here in Central California, spring starts on or about Feb 1st when our average daily high temp reaches 60f.

In Modesto , the coldest day of the year is usually Dec 31 when our average high temp is a chilly 55f and low of 38f. However, with the days length increasing we start warming quickly  in jan  and by first week of feb there are some trees starting to blossom and we rarely see a freeze after first week of feb.... though it does happen!

That's roughly how the transition between winter/ " pre "- Spring goes out here.. Though maybe bump the high/low average a bit, esp. in town.  I myself consider the start of spring -in the low desert at least-  when we have had 5-8 days straight of highs above 73, lows above 43F ..though we can still experience brief, but potentially damaging frosts into later Feb/ earliest March during that "transitionary " period as well. After that, rapidly increasing sun angle guarantees spring -most years- will proceed quickly toward pre summer heat..

Already have a few things flowering ( primarily the early spring annuals ) and noticing some of the Sweet Acacia ( Vachellia farnesiana/ smalli ) nearby are budding atm.. A few are already flowering ( likely the smallii form )..  Australian Cassia sp. planted all over town should also start flowering soon.

Back in San Jose.. ( Might be the same there in Modesto/ other parts of the Valley ).. Knew spring wasn't far off when all the weedy Australian Acacias you'd see around town were flowering by mid Feb ( sometimes a little earlier ).. often followed by Saucer Magnolias/ Almonds/ flowering Peach/Pear/Plum, Quince, etc.

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NorCalKing

Like mentioned above, on the West coast there is very little seasonal lag. So usually late Jan/Early Feb a lot of trees start to wake up (Including citrus). Already I can see my UV readings on my weather station are starting to creep up. Cold fronts can still occur, but the fat lady is starting to limber up.

Edited by NorCalKing

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Xenon

Day-of-Last-Spring-Freeze-Map.jpg

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PalmatierMeg

I usually take the view that when the calendar reaches March 1, I can be assured the danger of winter is past. A few years ago we had a rogue low of 37F around the 3rd week of Feb. I don't pay attention to what tropical tree is doing what when. Ideally, what winter I experience is usually 6-8 weeks from mid- to late-December to mid- to late-February with the nadir being the 2nd week in Jan. That's when all but my most cold-sensitive palms, i.e., coconuts and the like, are subject to serious damage or death. Right now I have ~4 weeks of nail biting left barring another rogue arctic front.

Back in the 80s my husband and I attended an April business convention at Disney World in Orlando. On the day we visited the Rat's Home the daytime high was 45F. Coming from the Washington Metro Area, we brought slacks and jackets. But I couldn't believe all the tourists we saw in shorts, tshirts, tank tops and flip-flops dragging shivering scantly-clad toddlers and preschoolers through the park and long lines for rides. They must have assumed FL had year-round summer and brought their skimpies and swim suits. But back then no one had the internet and Weather Channel to warn them. And who goes to libraries to read reference books?

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Silas_Sancona
13 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I usually take the view that when the calendar reaches March 1, I can be assured the danger of winter is past. A few years ago we had a rogue low of 37F around the 3rd week of Feb. I don't pay attention to what tropical tree is doing what when. Ideally, what winter I experience is usually 6-8 weeks from mid- to late-December to mid- to late-February with the nadir being the 2nd week in Jan. That's when all but my most cold-sensitive palms, i.e., coconuts and the like, are subject to serious damage or death. Right now I have ~4 weeks of nail biting left barring another rogue arctic front.

Back in the 80s my husband and I attended an April business convention at Disney World in Orlando. On the day we visited the Rat's Home the daytime high was 45F. Coming from the Washington Metro Area, we brought slacks and jackets. But I couldn't believe all the tourists we saw in shorts, tshirts, tank tops and flip-flops dragging shivering scantly-clad toddlers and preschoolers through the park and long lines for rides. They must have assumed FL had year-round summer and brought their skimpies and swim suits. But back then no one had the internet and Weather Channel to warn them. And who goes to libraries to read reference books?

Not surprised at all by people running around when it is " cool " ( ..or what many people, both in FL.. or here, would consider cold ) out. In both Kansas and Ohio.. if it was over 50F and sunny, in the dead of winter, i was in the proverbial " T-shirt, shorts and sandals.. "  Even shoveled snow in such attire a few times.. Heck, lol.. even the Cricket/ Chorus frogs would come out/ start singing if we'd has a few days near/ just above 60F -mid February- out in Kansas.. Well before spring " arrives " there ( typically around the first week of April ).

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JEFF IN MODESTO
6 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Not surprised at all by people running around when it is " cool " ( ..or what many people, both in FL.. or here, would consider cold ) out. In both Kansas and Ohio.. if it was over 50F and sunny, in the dead of winter, i was in the proverbial " T-shirt, shorts and sandals.. "  Even shoveled snow in such attire a few times.. Heck, lol.. even the Cricket/ Chorus frogs would come out/ start singing if we'd has a few days near/ just above 60F -mid February- out in Kansas.. Well before spring " arrives " there ( typically around the first week of April ).

Here in California, it’s 60f-68f... people head to the lakes and beaches.

I was in Miami one jan day . Temp was 78f and there was no one on the beach !

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Silas_Sancona
3 minutes ago, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

Here in California, it’s 60f-68f... people head to the lakes and beaches.

I was in Miami one jan day . Temp was 78f and there was no one on the beach !

True, especially if visiting any of the beaches around Santa Cruz.. Too cold for me, lol..  Has to be at least in the mid 70s..  Always had a sweatshirt w/ me since, as most Bay Area natives know..  more often than not, temps. drop once the fog rolls back in late in the day.

Experienced the same thing during the winter months both times i lived in FL.. Those were some of the best times to walk long distances along them too ( few/ no tourists, traffic ) Would run  another beach at night for the same reason when i lived in Largo.

Weirdest experience was walking a couple beaches closest to my apartment when the water temps bottomed out at Half Moon Bay -in -the -summer levels during the '09-10 cold spell there.. Thinking water temps right off St. Pete Beach..or Clearwater?? reached something like 58F or so for a couple days.. Dead things washed up everywhere..

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mnorell

North of Tampa-Orlando I think it really classifies as the period after the last frost, but in extreme SoFla (Keys and SE coast) I think of Spring as something unconventional, starting in March when all of the northern storm tracks have moved up and north of the area but before any tropical weather has moved far north enough out of the Caribbean Basin... this results in the true Florida dry season where there is predictably no rain and many trees start slowly going deciduous, reaching their nastiest appearance sometime in May. June is the hottest, driest month in spring, my own least favourite, though the Poincianas start their parade at that point. Once the rains start in July the growing season really kicks into gear and the luxurious tropical climate of Miami is truly an awe-inspiring season of deep blue skies, fantastic cloudscapes and daily downpours. It really equates more to the northern idea of Spring with its ebullient growth...And truly magnifique!

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PalmatierMeg
3 hours ago, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

Here in California, it’s 60f-68f... people head to the lakes and beaches.

I was in Miami one jan day . Temp was 78f and there was no one on the beach !

Locals here won’t go into the water at Ft Myers beach until the Gulf temp goes above 80F

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Eric in Orlando

Late Feb/early March. When the Citrus and Handroanthus umbellatus (Tabebuia) flowers. Handroanthus chrysotrichus and impetiginosus is very variable, in warm winters I have seen them flower in late Dec./early Jan. But even with average or colder winters individual trees are variable. H. umbellatus is more consistent.

When it starts warming up enough that the Camellias abort late flower buds and start flushing new growth.

Then there is when the "evergreen" Laurel Oaks and Southern Live Oaks shed their leaves and flush out new growth.  And when the native deciduous trees start flushing out in mid Feb./early March; Bald and Pond Cypress, Southern Red Maple, American Sweetgum, and Pignut Hickory.

Here at Leu Gardens we have one specimen of Magnolia grandiflora that consistently starts flowering in mid to late March.

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Hombre de Palmas

The first sign of "spring" for me is when the Clerodendrum quadriloculare begin to bloom followed by the Mangos (some of which are budding now) and Bottlebrush.

I look to March 1st as my "official" start, as by then, most danger of mid 30's or frost is past, though there is still the occasional raw, windy day.

Summer begins when the Heliconia psittacorum in my landscape begin to recover, and the Adonidias resume putting out new spears. This is usually heralded by shedding the lowest fronds.

I remember my time in North Texas that spring began for me when the Bradford Pears flowered. Always the last week of February.

 

This is all, of course, highly subjective.

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mnorell

Yes, highly subjective, I think often tied emotionally to our youth, and those impressions so dependent on location for obvious reasons...interesting to me that you should mention C. quadriloculare as a spring indicator plant in Central Florida, because in the Keys it is a sign of winter, it is everywhere in full bloom during January! That plant is a real show-stopper in bloom (and much-planted there because the deer won't touch it), and so everyone notices it. If it were just not such a runner/spreader. Irma's inundation seemingly killed our huge stand of it, but one or two little shoots started appearing about a year later and it is now growing back into something that will again be formidable; and finally bloomed again in January of 2020, two and a half years later. 

Eric brings up a good point in re a springtime association with the blooming of the Tabebuias, as they are really some of the most arresting trees. In coastal southern California,  after Tabebuia chrysotricha became somewhat commonly planted there in the late '80s, I also came to associate their blooming as heralds of springtime, though I always felt that species' blooming was very dependably on the calendar a few days before the equinox. T. umbellata is as scarce as hens' teeth in California, a little inexplicable since it blooms well there. (In the Keys, where T. aurea is the only yellow species planted, the flowering occurs anytime between January and June.)

In coastal Southern California I also associate spring's arrival with the blooming of the intensely fragrant Pittosporum undulatum, an old traditional favorite that has long been used for massive hedging, particularly throughout L.A./Hollywood/Beverly Hills. Non-natives in L.A. of course don't know the plant but they certainly notice the fragrance, which they just call "mock orange" or "night-blooming Jasmine." And weirdly enough, I've noticed it blooming around January in the SF Bay Area (never in SoCal at that time that I've ever detected). And sad that there is no citrus any longer in that zone outside of the occasional few in people's yards. When I was a little kid in the late '60s, the groves were still everywhere in SoCal, so I noticed them even at that age.

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JLM
3 hours ago, Hombre de Palmas said:

The first sign of "spring" for me is when the Clerodendrum quadriloculare begin to bloom followed by the Mangos (some of which are budding now) and Bottlebrush.

I look to March 1st as my "official" start, as by then, most danger of mid 30's or frost is past, though there is still the occasional raw, windy day.

Summer begins when the Heliconia psittacorum in my landscape begin to recover, and the Adonidias resume putting out new spears. This is usually heralded by shedding the lowest fronds.

I remember my time in North Texas that spring began for me when the Bradford Pears flowered. Always the last week of February.

 

This is all, of course, highly subjective.

Yep! The Bradford Pears is a good way to mark the beginning of spring. There use to be a nice sized one, and it was well grown and quite beautiful. The tree was over 20 years old, and the biggest portion of it fell during Hurricane Sally. The rest was cut down one week later. Now all there is left in the way of bradford pears is terrible half trees, because Sally took out limbs of the rest. I would use my Red Maple, but it didnt begin blooming leaves until May in 2020. The Red Maple was planted in the front yard with my largest Queen, the idea now is for it to be a good canopy within a few years. 

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Hombre de Palmas
3 hours ago, mnorell said:

Yes, highly subjective, I think often tied emotionally to our youth, and those impressions so dependent on location for obvious reasons...interesting to me that you should mention C. quadriloculare as a spring indicator plant in Central Florida, because in the Keys it is a sign of winter, it is everywhere in full bloom during January! That plant is a real show-stopper in bloom (and much-planted there because the deer won't touch it), and so everyone notices it. If it were just not such a runner/spreader. Irma's inundation seemingly killed our huge stand of it, but one or two little shoots started appearing about a year later and it is now growing back into something that will again be formidable; and finally bloomed again in January of 2020, two and a half years later. 

Some of them are just beginning to bloom here in Port Saint Lucie.

 

 

Edited by Hombre de Palmas

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