It’s early April, and we’re going through a stretch of rainy weather here in Berkshire County.  A few times on-air today I said, “Just remember, April showers bring May flowers!”  It’s a saying we’ve all heard, but it got me thinking…is that saying actually true?

The answer is…sort of.

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It’s basic science that plants need water to grow.  So, it’s not like the rain hurts the plants, and some rain in April certainly can help the process of flowers growing in May.

However, according to a variety of data, April is not one of the wettest or rainiest months in Berkshire County or Massachusetts.  For Berkshire County, the months that get the most average rain are June and October, which is similar to Massachusetts on the whole, with March, October and December getting the most average precipitation.

So, if April in general doesn’t get lots of rain, what influences flowering plants more than that?

Rob Sullivan/ TSM Hudson Valley
Rob Sullivan/ TSM Hudson Valley
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It turns out, May flowers are more influenced by the date of the last frost, how much sunlight there is, and what the average temperature is.

For example, April could bring lots of rain, but if we have cool temperatures, a lack of sunlight, and a frost that hits late in the month, it’s going to put the season behind.  On the other hand, if we have limited rain, but more sun and warmer temperatures with no frost beyond late March or early April, that’s actually much better for flowering plants.

Roxana_ro
Roxana_ro
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All that said, the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” will stick around.  It’s much catchier than “A variety of circumstances including temperature and dates of the last frost in conjunction with a moderate amount of rain can potentially bring May flowers.”

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