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Bud Break in Firs, Pines and Spruces (11 Replies)

Posted May 30, 2018 at 8:46 am


I think your idea has merit. I’ve noticed this for years on my fruit trees which are not native to zone 5a where I live. They will live here O.K. except that they tend to push flower buds early before they are really ready to and end up freezing out. I have wondered if that’s because they were native to a warmer zone and bud out when their biological clocks tell them they’re ready.

On the other hand my Abies Koreana have budded out really late this year much later than my Abies Concolor. (This is only my second year for Abies Koreana – last year they were bare root transplants so I can’t count that).

I read somewhere that Abies Koreana is native to the subalpine areas in Korea so this would also tend to support your theory. Probably in those subalpine locations, it doesn’t warm up until later that my zone 5.

Fred M. Cain

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Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:06 am


Working at a seedling nursery, I am also very interested in this question. Not only when do these families break, but also, when are they done? I’m keeping extensive records of what to expect out of the species we grow, and I will be sure the publish the results here. There is not much information on seedling growth habits for conifers – generally everything in the literature is on growth rates during maturity. This information would be a good foundation to the answer to your question though.

Here in Michigan, at least this past year (also keep in mind I’m right on the lake shore of Lake Michigan, which has it’s on micro-climatic effect) we saw break in the following order: Larch, Douglas-fir, pines (candling), most true firs, spruces, and finally Canaan fir.

Another comment, the species that broke bud first this year also began to exhibit lammas growth first: douglas-fir, concolor fir, oriental spruce.

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