The oak and ash race

Ash before oak – we are in for a soak

Oak before ash we are in for a splash

In reality oak pretty much always  comes into leaf before ash. In the last fifty years oak has always leafed before ash. It has not always been this way – in the 18th century when it was less mild ash did often flower before oak – thus the quote.

Climate change has changed all of this – usually oak leafs in late March-May which is about two weeks earlier than 30 years ago. Ash usually leafs during April and May, about 7-10 days earlier than 30 years ago.

Not this year though.

I have 5 oak trees and a number of ashes.

Four of the five oaks are just coming into leaf but so are all the ashes – it is a dead heat.

Ash coming into leaf

Oak buds

I can’t really explain this as it has been a mild winter in a warming world so oak should have beaten the ash by quite a distance – any ideas?


2 thoughts on “The oak and ash race

  1. Hi – over here, Totnes-Buckfastleigh area, the oak leaves are halfway open whereas the ash buds are showing not the slightest sign of leaf as yet. I was in London a few days ago and the oak is way ahead of the ash there too.

    Which is just as normal, in my experience. I never could understand the rhyme: I believe I’m slightly older than you and have never once in my life seen the ash come into leaf first, nor even close.

    I have no explanation as to what’s happening in Exeter this year, unless nature is just being wilfully perverse in order to confuse Met Office employees living locally. Nature’s impish sense of humour is a little-studied phenomenon…

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