The first blossoms showing on Augusta azaleas are just another sign that spring is ahead of schedule.
A warmer than average winter spurred early-blooming varieties to start showing their color about two to three weeks before normal, said Suzanne Holmes, a horticulture program assistant for the Richmond County agricultural extension office.
“This is one of the earliest springs I’ve seen. Everything’s a few weeks early,” Holmes said.
Azalea blooms typically live for three weeks before fading, she said. Carolina jasmine trees, red maples and forsythia are also blooming about two weeks early.
“They’re definitely going to pop on out,” Holmes said. “The bad thing is, if we were to get a cold snap, it’ll kill blossoms.”
If warm weather continues, the full blossom peak could hit before April, but the late-blooming indica variety could bloom the fourth week of March and stick around into April, Holmes said.
Around Augusta State University, tulips emerged from the ground nearly a month early, said ground supervisor Max Brown.
This is the first time Brown has seen tulips bloom in February in his 24 years tending to the campus landscape.
Daffodils also are showing premature signs of growth, he said.