More Damage from January Arctic Air

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by vitog, Apr 14, 2024.

  1. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    I think that the January arctic air outflow did more damage than any previous outflow since I've lived in Burnaby, BC (almost 50 years). This was the first time that I can remember both Brussels sprouts and leeks being severely damaged during winter. Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme were all killed completely.

    And today I noticed that our Hydrangea macrophylla has lost all of its terminal buds, which would have produced this year's flowers. I don't recall that this has ever happened before. Have any other members of this forum noticed the same thing?

    Since only the terminal buds were killed, will some of the lower buds produce flowers? I recall that our Hydrangea usually produces a few late blossoms, but I never checked to see if these came from terminal buds or not.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It wouldn't surprise me!
     
  3. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I lived in Burnaby all my life until relocating to Vancouver Island.
    I will never forget the terrible freeze when I was a young schoolgirl on November 11, 1955.
    It wasn't until the next spring that my family realized the extent of the damage.
    "The temperature dropped from 70F to 0F in 6 hours (21°C to -18°C)."

    Clive Justice, Douglas's father, wrote about it in the ARS Journal:
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Memories of the Sudden Freeze: November 11, 1955
    Lower Mainland of BC
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    From Journal American Rhododendron Society
    Summer 2007 Vol. 61 No. 3
    by Clive L. Justice

    “ . . . However, this rhododendron milestone on the 17th had been overshadowed by the great
    freeze of November 11th, a week before. Never before or since has such a horrendous climatic
    holocaust occurred; the temperature dropped from 70°F to 0°F in 6 hours (21°C to -18°C) *
    It had been a beautiful warm wet fall. A wide range of broadleaved-evergreen trees and
    shrubs froze to the ground. Even birch trees still in full leaf and Western hemlock had their
    main branches killed; leaves and needles turned brown as if they had been scorched by fire.”
    *Keep in mind that the freezing point is 32°F and 0°C!
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    I started noticing on the bus ride to school that many cedar tree tops were brown.
    It wasn't until quite recently that it occurred to me it was probably that hard cold snap that was the cause.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2024
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  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    And of course, the problem these days of cedars being damaged by high temperature episodes rather than low is worse because it is part of an ongoing general trend.
     
  5. Zack222

    Zack222 New Member

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    Our H. macrophylla our doing fine but the rhododendrons were hit hard. One in an exposed location lost all buds (as it had last year), I think that one is now up for relocation. One that is quite sheltered lost all but two buds. Vast majority of the foliage on both have frost damage.

    It also took out an older Ceanothus (I believe a thyrsiflorus cultivar) that had already looked to be on its way out. Every single leaf and young stem have gone brown while for now it is still green below the bark on main stems.
     
  6. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Wouldn't the damage during high-temperature episodes be exacerbated by the lack of consistent moisture in the soil?
     
  7. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    [QUOTE="The temperature dropped from 70F to 0F in 6 hours (21°C to -18°C)."[/QUOTE]

    I wonder where in the Lower Mainland Clive Justice saw those temperatures. At YVR on Dec 11, 1955, the maximum temperature was -2.8 C; and the minimum was -4.4 C. It dropped to -11.7 C the next day. and the high on Dec 10 was +8.9, which is a substantial change in three days but not very close to the quoted temperatures. On Jan 11/12, 2024 the YVR temperature dropped from +4.5 to -13.4 in two days, which is a significantly steeper gradient than what occurred in Dec, 1955.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Material sold as 'Victoria' is common in our region. (Correct identification may actually be 'Skylark').
     
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  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The burning of the foliage of coastal conifers in recent years has been determined to be due to abnormally high air temperatures alone. With soils being moist at the same time having no ameliorating effect.
     
  10. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    The date you need to check is NOVEMBER 11, 1955.

     
  11. Zack222

    Zack222 New Member

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  12. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Take it up with Clive Justice.

    All I know is that we could feel the temperatures plummet that day and the subsequent damage belies the 'recorded' temperatures quoted. I wonder if Douglas Justice remembers his father talking about 'the great freeze'?
     
  13. DerekK

    DerekK Active Member

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    The damage from the November 1955 deep freeze is well recorded. Check out the links below. One focuses on the '55 freeze and the other on the '24, '35 (interestingly only 3 years prior to the Fire of 1938 on Vancouver Island) and the '55 freeze. One factor seems to be the same despite the year or location, that is that it was unseasonably warm on one day and the temperatures plummeted rapidly overnight and continued for some days.
    I am at 120 metres elevation on the North Shore and expected to see some loss of plants or shrubs after this year's freeze. It was as low as -18˚C .I'm amazed/pleased to find that I have not had one loss anywhere in the garden. I hike daily up through the upper reaches of the British Properties and thought that I would see obvious signs of damage, ie, loss of Rhodos, Cherries etc (or at least no flowers) but again quite surprised to see that hasn't happened. This is, of course, purely anecdotal. We did have quite substantial arctic outflow winds but perhaps less than areas in line with the winds coming down through the Fraser Valley like Langley, New Westminster, Burnaby etc.

    exp_for_priest_river_1957_daubenmire.pdf

    pnw_os_rn-129.pdf
     
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  14. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    The early-blooming cherries, particularly 'Whitcomb', had very few flowers this year in most of the area, but the photos posted from Gibsons showed good colour on this cultivar. It's usually a little colder there, things coming into bloom later, so it seems that 'Whitcomb' trees had not yet started to open when the frost hit and the still closed buds were not affected. Next to bloom 'Accolade' were much better though not as good as in most years, and the rest of the cultivars looked good.
     
  15. Pieter

    Pieter Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No doubt our January deep freeze had a lasting impact on quite a few plants in our small suburban garden. I'm finally seeing Crocosmia coming back up but I think we'll be hard pressed to see more than 6 back out of a patch that used to be thick with them, easily 40 or more. I thought I'd lost a treasured prostrate Alstroemeria and while I lost the ones I'd dug up and potted last spring the ones in the garden bed are coming back up at last in the usual places. After seeing a virtual carpet of brown flower buds as well as plenty of leaves on the ground from our Camelias through February and March I'm happy to see there's now actually flowers in them!
     
  16. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Interestingly, all the rosemary died across our entire complex, down to the last nub. But I was thrilled to see my Rhododendron augustinii (in a tub on my balcony, now too big to move!) covered in blooms last week after I could not possibly protect something that big during the freeze. Heck, I can't even budge it back from the edge of the balcony! The bay laurel has some dieback, but the pomegranate came through like a champ. All the "killer plants" (our Sarracenias on the patio and roof) came through beautifully too.
     
  17. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    We saw some rosemary plants in Gibsons last weekend that were looking good, @Willard remarked on them - I forget if she said the ones in her complex had all died.
     

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