Most the plants in the list opposite are trees. Ideally the trees you watch should be in a sunny position. It is also more beneficial if there are a few trees (say 5 or 6) to add some confidence to your recording. A tree or shrub that is stressed (say growing on its own among competing vegetation or in the shade when it would prefer sunlight) will often respond to spring with unpredictable 'event's. Try and stay with the same trees year after year.
The events here are:
1. budburst - this refers to the opening of a bud. Record this when you can see the green leaves inside the bud emerging. Also, hold back recording the event until about 50% of the buds on the tree are opening. One budburst does not a budburst make!
2. 1st flowers - this refers to the opening of flowers on trees or wildflowers. Wildflowers tend to open faster than the flowers found on trees. They are also easier to see being brightly coloured. Flowers on trees are often light yellow and display as catkins. Make sure that about half the catkins are out before you record the event. In some cases there is a distinction made between male and female flowers. Male flowers produce pollen and the event of flowering should be noted when you can detect pollen release. Female flowers may be more difficult to record.
3. Unripe berries - in this state pollination has occurred but the embryo plant is not yet ready. Unripe fruit is usually green so as not to attract attention. Watch for about half the fruit to appear green before recording it.
4. Ripe berries -berries are the result of successful pollination and fertilization. When a berry is ripe it is ready to leave the plant. To ensure this occurs it frequently offers itself as food and so is attractive to animals in some way such as brightly coloured or tasty. Again, only record ripe fruit if most of the shrub/tree is covered in the fruit.
5. Onset of growth - this refers to new growth of the tree or shrub that increases the height of the plant. It is easy to identify as it occurs at the tips of branches and usually displays as a fresh light-green colour.
When entering a sighting please supply additional information in the comment box to describe the situation of the plant or other observations. We will find these useful in interpreting