Forsythia blooms heralding spring is longer being treated like a old wives tale. The blooms are an important phenological sign that spring is here and soil temperatures are ready for planting.
What does the timing of forsythias blooms have to do with the soil? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Soil temperatures strongly affect when forsythia flowers. This link between soil and flowering is a visual guide for gardeners. Full blown forsythia blooms tell us when to start planting peas and watching out for weeds.
Forsythias reach peak bloom with soil temperatures at 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Taking cues from Nature (i.e. phenology) has become trendy because of climate change. Traditional planting dates have become less reliable with the topsy-turvy weather. Soil temperatures are also more stable than air temperatures. Forsythias are a better guide for gardeners since they react to the ENVIRONMENT as it is this spring.
“Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forysthia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gardening to-dos when forsythias bloom
So, what kind of gardening activities do forsythias blooms herald?
- Planting peas, lettuce, and other cool season crops. It’s the best soil temperature for germination for these puppies.
- Plant seed potatoes.
- Prune roses
- Fertilize lawns
- Watch out for weeds. It’s the beginning of weed season too. Crabgrass, dandelions etc.
Don’t rely on the calendar for planting dates and gardening tasks. Let forsythias, soil temperatures, and soil conditions guide you in these weather-challenging times. Go out there and enjoy yourselves. The gardening season has begun!