Rabbiteye Blueberries - Early Bud Swell
I'm seeing bud swell (separating scales and even a few flowers beginning to emerge) in nearly all of my rabbiteye blueberries -- Tifblue, Brightwell, Ochlockonee, Bluebelle, Centurion, and more. Some are up to 200-250 hours away from meeting their chill requirements, and it's going to be at least two months before they'll be safe from a hard freeze. We did have a couple of warm spells earlier this month that might have thrown them off, but I still don't understand the chill hours discrepancy. In previous years, I haven't paid close attention to the amount of time between bud swell and full bloom, but, for the bushes that I've had the longest, none have ever bloomed before late February to early March. Even then it's sometimes a challenge to protect them from late cold snaps. Does anyone have any insight into what's going on? Have I just failed to notice that buds routinely swell two months in advance?