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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any experience with calculating when trees are going to bloom that they are willing to share. I have found a few sites that calculate growing degree dates, but am not exactly clear where to go from there.
In my zip code (54016) we have endured 50 days with a 0F in them, and have about 20 inches of snow on the ground. I would like to calculate when the Silver Maples are likely to bloom.
Thanks.
 

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Adrian, silver maple is one of the earliest blooms here in Ottawa, unfortunately it is usually too cold/wet for bees to fly. However, it is the start. For the last 3 years the bloom dates were 04/07/11, 03/20/12, and 03/30/13.

Here is a link to daily highs and lows if you want to calculate GDD.
http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climat...9-11-01|2012-03-06&Year=2011&Month=3&cmdB1=Go

Most agricultural use of GDD assumes a base temperature of 5 or 10C.

Wikipedia has a good write up and some GDD bloom dates. You will note they give a range of 1-27 GDD days for red maple to bloom. I don't think it will be very helpful for the early bloomers. I think the trigger for early tree blooming is more then temperature. Sugar maples need days above freezing and nights below freezing to get good sap flow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_degree-day

Regards Peter
 

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I've never actually payed attention or calculated degree days. But my engineering background would say to use an integral (area under the curve), that should give you degree-time (degree-days)
 

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I've used growing degree days as a guide for three years now and it does get you in the ballpark. It isn't absolute though. I have a growing degrees ap for my iphone (from Farm Progress) that will give the GDD for any zip code you enter.

I've also found that "as go the red maple, so goes the rest of the season". In other words I will benchmark the red maple bloom against past years and use that as a reference for the rest of the year. For example, in 2013 the red maples started blooming on March 2. We will be at least a week behind that this year so I will push all blooms back a week meaning the peak of the flow will start around May 10.

Either method will get you within +/- a week which is as accurate as you need to be (in my opinion).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Folks, thanks for the resources. I am going to read up on this. I am asking because I have 5 mature Silver Maples 80 yards from my bees, and as one responder mentioned, some years they bloom when it is too cold for the bees to work them. This year we have had so many cold days that I am hoping that might result in them blooming when the bees can fly.
I have some pollen patties to put in the hives and I would like to time it so that I can put them in about 2-3 weeks before the maples bloom, and then perhaps I would not need to repeat "pattying".
If you are new to bees it is worth reiterating what Hokie says about the progression of the bloom. I like to think of in terms of a simile in which the beekeeper is a surfer; You have prepared your apiary and have all the potential energy you can poised underneath you and then the wave of the main flow comes along and carries you in a wash of honey to the fall. When it goes badly, you see that the wave has washed by while: Your supers were in the shed, your bees swarmed, it rained and noone could fly, or your electric fence failed and the a bear wiped you out. :eek:
 

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If your goal is to time placing spring patties (in the north) I would work backwards from when pollen and foraging is guaranteed. Here in Ottawa it is dandelion bloom. Dandelions have bloomed between the 4th and 9th of May the last three years. This is a 5 day range compared to the silver maple bloom range of 17 days for the same 3 years. While early bloom timing can vary, as the spring progresses, the bloom dates get closer to the long term averages. If I want to stimulate the hives so they will be ready in June for raspberries (my first crop) I put patties on 2 brood cycles (6 weeks) before dandelion. Pushing brood rearing earlier may cause problems if cold weather hits.

I am in a very pollen rich environment with a steady progression of pollen sources starting with silver maples, red maples, poplar, willows, etc. The problem is foraging weather can be spotty or not even start until 2nd week of April.

Historical averages also apply to swarming. In Eastern Ontario the first swarm date is about May 17th. They won't swarm until they have good foraging and pollen sources. It may be latter depending on the hive development but usually not earlier then that date.

Regards Peter
 

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Here in NB the silver maples are pretty much confined to the river valley bottoms, whereas the red is all over. Interestingly, red maple is one species predicted to do better under the warming climate in these parts, and foresters are reporting already that red maple is now notably more vigorous in Nova Scotia. I started tracking 85 different flowering species of interest to the bees two years ago and it is interesting to compare years. It also makes you focus on what is available.

This March is running about 20 C colder than 2013 so far! Last two nights in northern NB were -35 C/-36 C in the upper Saint John valley. 'Only' -25 C where I am. Still had some life in my hives two weeks ago, but now I am worrying.

Rob
 

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Would you share a few years of red maple bloom dates?
Sure, I'll give you the dates I've tracked so far. I have limited data since I only started this three years ago.

2011 - March 6
2012 - February 12
2013 - March 2

2012 was a very rough year with the major flow ending about the time my packages arrived. So far my red maples don't look like they are close to blooming.
 

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Thank you Nasa. Any idea why certain species are background colored in orange for upstate NY?
 
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