Why Are Plants Blooming Now, After the Storm?

Posted On October 13, 2018— Written By

Stress induced bloom after hurricane damage. image by Lucy Bradley

According to NC State Extension Landscape Specialist Barbara Fair, Callery pear, cherry, and other typically spring flowering trees and shrubs are blooming and leafing out again right now. This is likely a stress response related to the hurricanes.

Late winter and spring flowering trees and shrubs generally begin developing flower buds for the next year as soon as they finish flowering in the summer. However, storm damage including broken limbs, lost leaves, and flooded roots can lead to stress which changes the plant hormone levels causing plants to bloom and produce leaves out of season. Badly damaged plants sometimes put their energy into reproduction and creating a new generation before they die.
Trees that have a stress-induced, out-of-season bloom will have diminished or even no spring bloom, but If the trees are otherwise healthy, they will likely leaf out in the spring/early summer. There should be no long-term effect. Callery pear is one of the toughest plants in the landscape and should be fine despite the hurricane’s effects.