Leafing Out

How long will we live with reminders that this spring played tricks on our trees and shrubs, with the early warm weather causing them to break dormancy ahead of schedule and then the return of winter zapping them back to reality?

Looking around, I think it is the trees that were most impacted by the warm-very cold-warm cycle and recovery will take some time. Above is a branch from a honey locust tree (Gleditsia tricanthos) showing the little leaves that were zapped by the cold and the green buds that tell me this tree will be fine.

Below is a red maple tree (Acer rubrum). It, too, will be just fine.

I'm not quite sure what to expect from this red bud (Cercis canadensis). It is struggling a bit trying to leaf out.
And I have a couple of other trees and shrubs that look even worse.

But now is not the time to start pruning. We need to wait and give the trees and shrubs a chance to recover. So, I'm going to follow my normal spring schedule of planting and gardening and then see how the trees and shrubs look before I buy a chain saw.


  1. Ah, trees. If you really want to see some screwed-up trees, check out Western New York, The freak snowstorm in October caused a huge proportion of the canopy here to lose their branches.

    They're still taking them down as I write this. It will be a massive effort to replace them.

  2. Looks like things are on their way, Carol. My honey locust is still just standing there with not a sign of budding yet. Your maple looks happy and the redbud is giving it a game try. I wouldn't buy a chainsaw yet!

  3. I wouldn't buy a chainsaw even if the trees were dead. When's the next time you're going to use a chainsaw? Hire a nice hunky guy with a chainsaw--then you get to enjoy the show!

  4. That first picture of the honey locust is kind of scary and hopeful at the same time when I enlarge it. I'll keep a good thought for your trees.

    — Susan from South of the River

  5. I thought my purple smoke bush was going to die, but yesterday I found some tiny little buds among the shriveled dead leaves. Yay. (I live in Indianapolis, so also in central Indiana.)

    My phlox are starting to bloom. This is the first year I've had them. Are they supposed to be blooming now or are they early?

  6. Now that you mention it... the trees here are kind of scarily bare, too. My small cherry, apple and pear trees are all leafed out, but the big tall trees in the local woods are still sporting a "November-February" look. It is a bit late for them to still be this naked.

  7. When in doubt, wait and see. Many trees will recover, it just takes a bit of time. Buying a chain saw, hmmm, you're not starting a new collection of garden equipment, are you? ;-)

  8. It's amazing how long it can take for things to come back after their buds freeze. A few years ago I had a young hydrangea that I was sure was a goner after a late frost. Only the fact that I had too much to do in the rest of the garden kept me from yanking it out. Finally in late July I bought a replacement. But when I dug up the "dead" shrub there was a tiny green shoot at the base. I shoved it back into the ground and found another location for my new plant.

  9. Yow, a chainsaw is pretty drastic. But trees respond just great to threats so your trees may produce a great display this year if they heard you!

    Not a tree whisperer.

  10. I was just noticing the other day how pretty the trees look with their leaves just beginning to come out. You can still see the intricate shapes of the branches too. I hope your trees survive and flourish.

  11. EAL... I remember seeing your pictures last fall. You are right, I think I'll take what I got versus what you ended up with.
    LostRoses... Don't tell anyone, but I don't really like tools like chain saws, so I probably won't buy one to use myself.
    Kathy... I like your plan!

    Susan... Thanks for the good thoughts for my trees. Add one for the month of May that it only rains at night, okay?
    Jen...If you mean the ground cover phlox, yes, this is the time for them to bloom around here.
    Blackswamp_Girl... I am anxious to see what the trees look like in the next few weeks.
    Yolanda Elizabet... Definitely need to wait and see, and would have no time to prune now, anyway. I am not planning a new tool collection. I don't really like power tools!
    Molly... That's why we need to wait and be patient before we assume a plant is dead.
    Ki... I'm taking your advice and threatening the trees a bit this weekend. They all saw me remove an oak tree a few years ago, so they know I can do it again!
    Old Roses... Thanks for the nice comment and kind thought.

    Thank you all for the comments and encouragement!


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