There is nothing better than seeing trees flaunt fragrant flowers and green, glorious leaves in spring!
So, when will they sport their fresh new look?
While there’s no set date for all trees to break bud, we can use clues to predict when trees typically leaf out.
Find out when to expect spring tree sprout in your region and if you should be concerned about a late leaf out.
When Do Trees Leaf Out (By Region and Leaf Out Dates)
There are two ways trees know when to wake up for spring. First, they respond to noticeably warmer days after a stretch of cold temperatures in winter. At the same time, they react to a change in light duration, when shorter nights and longer days of sun exposure, spur new growth and development.
Below learn when trees will typically leaf out in your area. And remember, if there’s unusual weather in your area, like a mild or severe winter, trees may leaf out sooner or later than this.
- Leaf Out Dates in the Midwest: Expect tree leaf out in the Midwest when warmer temperatures get on a steady schedule, around mid-April.
- Leaf Out Dates in the Northeast: Northeastern trees are adapted to take extra caution when it comes to spring leaf out since it can be devastating for leaves to be shocked by a sudden freeze. Because of this, trees in the Northeast leaf out late April to early May. This also commonly occurs in the Midwest.
- Leaf Out Dates in the West: Western tree budbreaks can vary widely. From coastal California to mountainous Colorado, trees are exposed to a number of different climates. Expect western trees to leaf out fully by early May.
- Leaf Out Dates in the South: Trees native to the South are well-adapted to the region’s warmer weather, so they don’t stay dormant for long. Trees in this region begin breaking bud as early as mid- March.
What If Your Tree Is Not Growing Leaves In Spring?
If you’ve noticed trees around the neighborhood budding while yours is barren, don’t panic! Just because spring is in full swing doesn’t mean your specific trees are ready to bloom or leaf out.
For example, some trees, like birch and willows, leaf out early to lengthen their pre-summer food production time. On the other hand, trees, like oaks and elms, prolong their bud break to protect against sudden drops in early spring temperatures.
As long as tree buds are green on the inside, they’re alive and well—just waiting for their time to sprout. If you don’t spot buds or the buds are shriveled or black, that could indicate it's a problem.