Why are pears and apples blooming in October?

Late winter and spring flowering trees and shrubs begin to develop new flower buds for the following year after they finish flowering and during the summer when they are in full leaf.

There is a complex relationship between flowering response, plant hormones and plant chemistry. Day length and temperature play an important role in when plants flower in general, and when seasons change plants respond by altering their internal chemistry and hormone levels.

This is normal. But when storms come through and change the conditions directly around the plant, it can trigger an unusual response such as plants blooming out of season. The storm can lead to stress which leads to a change in the plants hormone levels and chemistry. Thus, plants bloom at strange times and may even produce leaves where others were lost!

You should also note that it is unlikely the trees will bloom again in the spring. They may have a few blossoms left over after this flush, but blooming will be much diminished, if at all. There should be no problem when it comes to developing new leaf buds and leafing out in the spring/early summer, but they are using some of those preformed leaf buds as well now, and so you might see some regrowth, late leaf flushing, or reduced leaves at the beginning of the season.

If the trees are otherwise healthy, there should be no long-term effect to the production of new leaves. Callery pear are one of the toughest plants in the landscape and should be fine despite the hurricane’s affects.

For information or if you have specific questions about plants in the landscape, garden or trees contact Shannon Newton, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 910-875-3461 in Hoke County or 910-277-2422 in Scotland County.

For information about Extension visit our website at http://hoke.ces.ncsu.edu.