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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Leaf-out, Bud Break and Temperature - Don't Panic

Okay, so the last several weeks have been a little crazy around the Midlands of South Carolina - particularly with the evening lows bouncing all over the chart while  some trees and shrubs were already leafing out and breaking bud.

In fact, we have lows tonight with feel likes temperatures below freezing and some fairly substantial winds.

When plants leaf out or break bud is not totally depending on warming temperatures, some do, but for most there is some combination of this, their own biological clock (like us), having met their chilling requirement and the amount of sunlight (not warmth) each day. This can vary within the same genus, from specie to specie, even living next door to one another.

I have two gorgeous Nikko Blue hydrangeas, whose apical (terminal) flower buds recently broke and got zapped by the cold and even some of the associate leaves, but fortunately I didn't cut her back last year so I have plenty of healthier buds down the stem to work with.

The beautifully shaped loropetalum showed off a little and now she is truly confused. A little raking and she'll look wonderful next week.

A tea olive started to get busy and then simply said, "I'll just wait."

A few hostas came flushing up and outward and now seem to be in a holding pattern.

I somewhat failed to help it out and my showcase sago palm transformed into this cool looking bronze color. Not certain I have ever protected sago's from the cold in this area; I have had them turn almost every tone of brown and come back in the spring. I'm not touching those leaves (truly, not fronds) until I see plenty of new growth coming up and unfurling in the sunlight. Then, I'll probably give it a little fertilizer and make some thinning cuts. I'm going to enjoy that cool looking bronze thing I have in my yard, for now.

So if you are not certain what a plant is telling you, or how and when to care for it or prune it, give it a little time and see what is says to you in the coming warmer weeks.


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