3-20-17 SHORT HILLS: It got up to about fifty today, but with the wind, it still felt cold. The snow cover is slowly dwindling. The birds continue to mob the feeders.
I got a close look at some of the shrubs today and saw a lot of dead, brown buds. Some were flower buds, and some were leaf buds. The frozen flowers will not regenerate this season, but the plants will make new leaves.
However all the energy and material that went into the early leaf development, because of the early, extended warm spell, will be lost to the plants. Some of the ends of the branches may also have died from the cold. If there are no further traumas, most of the shrubs will survive. Marginal plants may have been too traumatized to recover. More extensive damage may yet appear.
The Vernal Equinox occurred early this morning in our time zone, marking the sun’s crossing of the Equator and the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Now is when it should be warming up, not in February. Blame climate change—it has happened and will be getting worse in spite of the deniers.
Quince. The round buds are flowers and will probably open with minor damage. The brown buds on the upper side of the branch are leaves that are dead. The shrub will grow new ones, but that will eat into its energy reserves.
Forsythia. The brown buds were flowers, now dead.
Viburnum. The leaf on the right may be OK, the shrub will likely survive.
Hydrangea. These leaf buds are probably dead as is most of the branch.