Trees blossoming

If you are among the many Texas Countians who take long drives in April to see hillsides painted pink and white by flowering dogwood and redbud trees, fill your gas tank. The big bloom is on its way.

Dave Mayers, the conservation department’s fisheries regional supervisor in West Plains, says he saw dogwood blossoms starting to open March 25 while hunting mushrooms. (He found one morel.)

The peak blooming of Missouri’s state tree – the flowering dogwood -typically occurs in mid-April near the state’s southern border and reaches the state’s northern limit two to three weeks later. However, recent 80-degree temperatures have caused buds on some dogwood trees in central Missouri to crack open slightly. Meanwhile, the familiar yet indescribable purplish hue is beginning to show along redbud tree branches. With daytime highs forecast to be in the 70s and 80s across much of Missouri for most of the coming week, the main flowering-tree display could occur early this year.

On the other hand, it is too early to count blossoms. Three years ago, weeks of balmy weather in late March and early April gave way to a freak freeze April 4 through 9. That Easter freeze hammered dogwood flowers and reduced acorn numbers for two years.

At the moment, however, Missouri’s redbud and dogwood prospects seem bright. Trees in urban settings normally bloom earlier than those in the wild, due to heat retention by asphalt and concrete. The following routes provide good viewing for those who want to see wild trees in bloom.

·Highway 19 between Montgomery City and Thayer.

·Highway 5 between Versailles and Gainesville.

·Highway 142 between Doniphan and Bakersfield.

·Highway 72 between Cape Girardeau and Rolla.

·Highway 63 between Columbia and Thayer.

·I-44 between Eureka and Rolla.

·Highway 50 between Eureka and Jefferson City.

·Highway 60 between Poplar Bluff and Springfield.

For more information about flowering trees in Missouri, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/8417.

 

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