The five little winters in Tennessee

We're in a redbud winter. | Photo by Matthew T Rader via Pexels

Table of Contents

The good news: today is going to be sunny with a high of 75°.

The bad news: the temperatures are going to dip below freezing later this week.

But why? We’ve had a taste of spring, and we don’t want to go back now.

Well, you have the redbuds to thank for that.

Okay, so it’s not really the redbuds’ fault, but redbud blooms are a way that farmers used to keep track of frosts and when they could safely sow their crops. Same with dogwood + blackberry blooms. You’ve likely heard the terms “dogwood winter” and “blackberry winter,” but do you know the history of these “little winters” in spring? If not, keep reading.

In Tennessee, there are typically 5 “little winters.” 👇

  1. Redbud winter in late March or early April
  2. Dogwood winter in late April
  3. Locust winter in early May
  4. Blackberry winter in mid May
  5. Whippoorwill winter in late May (has also been called britches winter)

As mentioned above, farmers used nature as a way to keep track of the weatherthey waited until after the dogwoods bloomed to plant their crops. Now, we can just consult a calendar or look at the Farmers’ Almanac for when the last frost will likely happen. In Chattanooga, it looks like the last spring frost will be April 1.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, these blips in weather as we dig our way out of winter are called singularities. “For a singularity to be recognized, it has to occur during at least 50% of years.” All five “little winters” in Tennessee are singularities, which means we still have four more cold snaps to look forward to in the coming months.

If you haven’t looked at this week’s forecast, this is what we have to work with:

☔ Wednesday | High of 67°, low of 35° | Rainy | 100% chance of rain 

☀️ Thursday | High of 51°, low of 30° | Sunny | 0% chance of rain

☀️ Friday | High of 56°, low of 33° | Sunny | 0% chance of rain

🌤️ Saturday | High of 65°, low of 40° | Mostly sunny | 0% chance of rain

☀️ Sunday | High of 71°, low of 46° | Sunny | 10% chance of rain

And while we get through this little redbud winter, you can get your spring garden planned + plants ordered from Crabtree Farms (plant sale is April 15-24) and Reflection Riding (pre-sale happening now).