The numerous extremely warm days of late have pushed the progression of spring flowering bulbs, trees and shrubs. The crocus have come and gone, early daffodils are already fading, magnolias, ornamental cherries, pears are in full bloom, and it is just the second week of April.

Early flowering of fruit trees is a problem for orchardists as there is the likelihood that frosts might follow and affect their crops.

 Frost damage is not a worry for many New England invasive shrubs and trees.  In their race to leaf out before the native woody plants, many  invasive are already producing a green haze, forming a dense understory thicket which can restrict native plant growth and tree seedling establishment.  They not only leaf out early and are not impacted by frosts, but many continue to grow late into the fall, giving them a competitive edge over native plants.

 The barberries are already in full leaf in the deciduous woodland that borders a swamp.  

Japanese barberry April 11, 2010 Manchester, Ct

 Euonymous alatus commonly know as winged euonymous or burning bush in full leaf on the same date.

Euonymous alatus

 Autumn olive Elaeagnus umbellata an invasive that was originally planted for its fragrant white flowers, silvery foliage and abundant red fruit in fall.  It takes over in disturbed areas, is readily spread by birds and small mammals.  

The roots of  autumn olive contain nitrogen-fixing nodules which enhance their ability to thrive in poor soils. They are rapid growers, and produce heavy shade which suppresses smaller plants that require more sunlight. 

Elaeagnus umbellata

                                     Leslie Alexander