I am noticing several weeping cherries in the neighborhood which appear to be damaged, maybe dead over the winter. Forsythia bloom was poor, and my Cornus mas failed to bloom too. Will they recover?
Damage is just now starting to reveal itself due to the late growing season this year. Cherry trees appear to have been hit very hard, especially sweet cherries with over 90% of the crop damaged. Many landscape trees bloomed sporadically or not at all due to the extreme cold. Redbuds were light to no bloom but appear to be leafing out fine. Forsythia seems to be dependent on species and if they are planted in a protected area or microclimate. Many forsythia flowered well this spring, but many in open, exposed areas bloomed very little. Also it appears that Cornus mas is failing to bloom as well. Another consideration is impact of the drought from last year. I believe we will be seeing even greater impact with extreme cold providing an additional blow to our trees and shrubs. Plants may fail to bloom but still be alive.
The best suggestion is be patient and to provide good cultural practices with water when needed this spring and summer and provide the proper levels of mulch. Avoid fertilization and only lightly prune when necessary. Most likely trees are in stress conditions, still in recovery from the previous drought along with the extreme cold. Too much care can be lethal.
Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University