Friday, April 15, 2016

Ravages of Cold

Much praise must be given to local orchard men who battled against cold killing low temperatures these last few weeks and, we all hope, they won the battle. Killing cold is stealth like, coming in, in the darkness of early morning on breezes hardly discernible to all of us still sleeping in our beds. Orchard men don't sleep if trouble peeks up its ugly head.

I write today to make you aware of something which may happen to you, or rather, to your trees and plants due to these recent cold spells.    I want you to be aware of a problem that may arise from our recent cold but does not manifest itself until a later date maybe a month or more out. Leaves by that time will have unfolded to full size but some may be discolored by looking dead brown on some outer portion of the leaf. The stem portion of the leaf will remain its normal green but some portion of the leaf could look dead brown. Most likely nothing is attacking your tree or plant, no bug is doing this, no spraying can help, your tree or plant will live thru this abnormality.

What happened was : freezing temperatures occurred just as leaf buds were swelling and the outer tender tissued leaves got frosted and, now when fully formed, show up as dead tissue, usually a quarter to half a leaf will have turned brown. I haven't seen this affect occurring lately around here, in fact, it has been many years since orchard men needed smudge pots or salamanders to ward off freezing temperatures, at least, to my knowledge.

Ronald C. Downie

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