Field of Science

First day of spring - hardly!

The calendar is telling us today is the first day of spring; the weather is not.  It was blustery and in the low 20s (-6 C) this morning, and the walk to the coffee shop and then to campus just about froze my arse off.  Such is the particular magic of wind chill.  Walking into a warm and moist coffee shop on such a day and your glasses totally fog, so happy spring to all the unidentified regular patrons who greeted TPP this morning. Tonight the low temperature is supposed to be 13 F (-10.6 C), diametrically the opposite of last year, and quite a few people asked, "Will this hurt our plants?"  Possibly, but not fatally.  As late winter advances, buds swell and bulbs send up leaves and buds, and they progressively become less cold hardy.  This varies greatly with the state of plant growth and the temperature.  If peach blossoms were showing pink in such temperatures, they're toast.  If your hellebore blossoms are showing pink, it's no worry.  Even so, the peach tree is hardy and will survive because flower buds as the approach flowering are among the most tender parts of the plant.  Of course the point in having some plants is to have them flower and fruit, but some years the weather gods get you.  Still TPP would rather not have temperatures get so low this time of year, and we may hope that this is the last of the really cold temperatures. 

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