Recent frosts may severely damage trees on farms and in shelterbelts, says John Ball, South Dakota State University Extension forestry specialist.
Some of the foliage will recover, some foliage will show blackened margins but otherwise recover, and some trees will lose most of their leaves from the frost. However, the good news is that much of this foliage will be replaced, he says.
"The tender foliage on trees that are leafing out is sensitive to freeze injury. Fortunately many tree species to have a "reserve chute" and will put out a second set of leaves in the next few weeks to replace the lost ones. We saw this about three years ago in the north-central part of the state and the trees recovered just fine."
The biggest problem will be with the flowering trees. "Once the flowers are killed, that's it," he says. "You will not get replacement flowers this spring, so the loss of the flowers means no fruit this fall on the pears and plums that are in bloom right now. At least in the northern half of the state the apples have not bloomed yet so they should be fine. But in the southern half of South Dakota, where the apples were blooming, we may see less fruit set on apples as well as the other fruit tree crops."