NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Is it still Redbud Winter? Or, is it now Dogwood Winter?

Those are the kind of questions many Middle Tennesseans are asking, as the roller coaster ride on the thermometer spawns the popular conversation about springtime winters, named for which tree is blooming at the time.

What is a springtime winter? It’s the short period of time during the spring season that a cold snap hits an area. For instance, one day it’s 70 degrees outside and the next the temperature plummets to 40 degrees. These are known as “little” winters. There can be four basic springtime winters according to Tennessee folklore including, Redbud, Dogwood, Locust and Blackberry.

During the month of March, it’s typically a Redbud Winter because the redbuds are full bloom, and we have had several freezes lately.

But many are saying the most recent cold snap in the last few days of March make it a Dogwood Winter, due to the fact that many dogwood trees have had blossoms just starting to open.

As the dogwood flowers continue to open up through the month of April, we will probably have several Dogwood Winters.

By early May, the locust trees start blooming, hence the transition to a Locust Winter.

And when there is a cold snap (or two) in mid to late May, we are usually in Blackberry Winter.

Blackberry blossoms in mid to late May (Courtesy of Sheila Feine)

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But there are more “little” winters that people talk about. Some use the term Stump Winter, when they say “there’s no firewood left to burn but an old stump!”

Davis Nolan’s good friend, Lisa Patton and former News 2 Meteorologist, always said that her mother says many people also add Cotton Britches Winter in late spring, when people are wearing cotton britches.