Gardener's Notes

Spring Spring

March 22, 2019  |  Endo-dormancy, Spring, Time Change


Benjamin Franklin is credited with the concept of Daylight Savings Time, the basic idea to make the best use of the daylight hours by shifting the clocks forward in spring and backward in fall.  This practice has been used in the US and Canada since World War 1. In 1966 Lyndon Johnson signed an act into law whereby Daylight Savings began the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October.  In 2005 President Bush signed a new energy policy that extended Daylight Savings Time by four weeks beginning in 2007. This year Daylight Savings Time began on March 8 and will end on Nov 1.

Plants and animals have their own time clocks. In my household there is less complaint in Spring when breakfast is served an hour earlier, than in Fall when dinner is an hour late. For plants there are two keys that signal spring growth. They have an internal time clock; endo-dormancy and an external time clock eco-dormancy. The endo-dormancy need varies with different varieties of plants to less than 500 chilling hours to over 1500 chilling hours. Until the endo-dormancy need has been satisfied, new growth will not begin even if temperatures and conditions are right. Once the internal endo-dormancy period has been achieved then the eco-dormancy or external conditions have to be right for the plant to begin its growth.

At Greenfield we are enjoying the sure signs of spring. The Blue Heron’s have returned to the Rookery in the neighboring pasture, the sounds and movements of the frogs and toads that overpopulate the farm, and the push of growth from overwintered perennials and shrubs, the increasing calls and visits from gardeners that are anxious for color and life, and the mass blooms of the crops of Hellebores.

After the shortest/longest month of February – spring has arrived. Don’t’ miss a minute of it.