Winter injury to plants is becoming more apparent as spring growth progresses. In Mark Longstroth and Bill Shanes weekly Fruit Report they remind us theres information now available from MSU titled Extent of cold injury to landscape plants from the polar vortex and also Winter weather update for 2013-2014. Winter injury appears to be widespread in less cold hardy fruits and ornamentals not prepared to deal with readings below minus-10. You can see injury in peaches and grapes. There is also injury more localized to specific sites including habitually cold ones. Then theres the effect of last years drought stress and lack of irrigation. All in all, dieback of young shoots and failed fruit buds arent unexpected, theyre just more apparent now that warm temperatures are forcing along plant development. When seeing that term polar vortex in Mark and Bills article its striking to note how far back in my consciousness its receded in a short period of time. Its like bumping into an old nemesis one you just knew would pop up again.
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