Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Crawls Up The Mountain Sides

Days warmed by the sun have brought a rapid bloom and sprouting to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is that time of year when a person can see the green of leaf development moving from the valley floor toward the top of the higher ridges. Yesterday, if you stood still long enough, you could almost see the green line moving higher up the mountain sides.

Elevation and aspect in the Blue Ridge Mountains are crucial to plant development. In the spring the temperatures are warmer at lower elevations triggering trees to produce their leaves before their brethren at higher and cooler elevations. The result is the creeping of green up the slopes over a week or so until the entire mountain range is clothed in many rich hues of green.

The process is again seen in the fall as the cooler temperatures result in the trees at higher elevations starting their brilliant displays of gold, red, and orange. You can sit back and watch the color move down slopes toward the valleys.

Bloom Tip

I took a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway between mile post 0 and 29 the other day. Dogwoods are just starting to develop their flowers, but the Service Berry (pronounced sar vis berry by the mountain residents) are in full bloom. You will find the most spectacular bloom of Service Berry I seen in 25 years between mile post 20 and 22.

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