Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - The calendar shows that Spring 2024 has arrived. The Earth literally stands on its axis, and both hemispheres get an equal amount of sun. South Louisiana is hoping for sunshine and not-too-warm temperatures. We certainly don't want a repeat of the 2023 summer drought and scorching temperatures!

As we experience winter's last gasp, we gaze longingly at our sad-looking flower beds. We want our yards to reflect the Spring season. New plants waiting to be tucked into their new homes beckon as we walk by them in stores. That area where you plant tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other edibles screams to show itself what it can do.

Azaleas, Japanese magnolias, flowering pear, and all the other plants that like to show off are yawning out of their winter sleep to offer us a glimpse of what's to come as we meander through the second quarter of the year.

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But has winter really left south Louisiana yet? Can we plant without worrying about Mother Nature ruining our efforts?

Professional and amateur gardeners will tell you to keep an eye on one particular tree in south Louisiana to tell if winter has left and spring is here to stay.

We have a small piece of property in rural Acadia Parish, just west of Crowley. My husband visits several times a week to check on things, and this time of year he is keeping a close eye on the trees. We are gardeners and are itching to get our hands dirty, literally. He hasn't let me pull out my gloves or trowel yet. It's frustrating because the mulberry tree, the persimmon tree, and others are stretching their way into the new season.

But not the pecan tree.

pecan tree

There's an old adage that "you can't fool a pecan tree." They are nearly always the last to bloom and, when they do, it's a sign that winter is officially over.

Pecan trees like to "sleep" for a long time. (I feel ya, pecan tree!) Once you see the buds popping out, grab your gardening tools and get to planting. Winter and the cool snaps she brings have likely made their exit for the season.

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Gallery Credit: Credit: Mateo, 103.5 KISS FM