JACKSTOWN– This spring is a bit disappointing in blooming terms thanks to a brutally cold winter, but considering how long it seems since we’ve seen spring-like temperatures, most of us will take it. Dawes Arboretum’s Director of Horticulture Mike Ecker said the arboretum’s experienced more stellar springs.
“What I can say is the spring blooming magnolias have been hit hard and even though some have color, the brown blotches keep from looking attractive,” Ecker said. “The early blooming cherry trees are flowering sparsely so far and I wouldn’t be surprised if some types don’t flower at all.” He said he’s noticed some dogwoods are readying their flowers and don’t seem to have been damaged. “Only those plants flowering on old wood have the possibility of damage,” Ecker said. “These are plants generally flowering prior to June 15. Ones after this have not formed flower buds yet so avoid this freezing problem.”
According to garden.lovetoknow.com and gardener Jeanne Grunert, the symptoms of shock are easily detected.
“ First, note whether or not the temperatures outside are cold enough to produce shock,” Grunert writes. “Depending on the plant, that can start somewhere near 50 to 60 degrees and below. If the temperatures outside were warm, look for other issues such as insects or diseases.
“The main symptoms include, Drooping leaves: Leaves will curl or droop. This is caused by the cell damage mentioned earlier. As the cells are damaged, they loose their rigidity, causing the leaves to droop.
“Discoloration on the leaves: Look for white, yellow or red marks near the veins in the leaves. These are spots of dead cells killed by frost. In some plants, not all cells will be affected immediately. Areas that were hit by the cold will turn these colors and the leaves may eventually die and fall off the plant.
“If your plants seem to have been damaged by cold weather, don’t panic. Remove the plant into a warmer area as soon as possible. Bring houseplants and potted plants indoors, or begin winter preparations immediately. Just leave the plant alone and give it warmth. Like a person, it will stop shivering soon and will recover. While the damage to the leaves is permanent, plants are pretty resilient. If the leaves are severely damaged, they will die and fall off,” Grunert writes. “New leaves should take their place. It may take several weeks or months to see full recovery, but given warmth, proper light and water, most plants bounce right back.”