Forde Nursery staff observing tree and shrub damage from brutal winter

Posted at 3:12 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 20:15:55-04

GREAT FALLS – As we head into the summer months, the staff at Forde Nursery has observed many trees and shrubs showing signs of damage.

The damage can be attributed to the jump from mild temperatures in January to the sub-zero temperatures in February.

Forde Nursery designer Lonnie Hill said, “That extreme fluctuation of about 66 degrees caused a lot of damage in the cells of these plants.”

Another factor is the late-season frost experienced in April and May.

Hill added, “Most of these shrubs could probably recover and be alright, but then there’s also some that are also dead.”

Fruiting trees, including flowering crab-apple, plum and pear trees, have suffered the worst damage. Tree lilacs, lilac shrubs, and pine trees have also been damaged.

At this point, the nursery does not recommend taking action. They advise being patient and seeing how the trees and shrubs react to warmer temperatures.

“It’s going to be hard because a lot of people are going to want to make moves right now, but patience is the most important thing to see how they turn out,” Hill said “And then folks will have to assess where their trees are at and whether or not they can kind of stick with what they have and work with what’s left or if they want to just replace.”

­­He advised not stimulating the growth as it can stress the plant out even more.

Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News