After a Long Hard Frost

Squill showing frost damage, 30 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

3 April 2022

As I mentioned last weekend, the weather was lovely on 24 March with a high of 60oF but things went sharply downhill from there. For three and a half days Pittsburgh was below freezing and the weather deteriorated from windy snow on 27 March to lows of 14-19oF and blizzard conditions on 28 March.

Heavy snow & low visibility, 29 March 2022, 12:35pm (photo by Kate St. John)
Heavy snow became blizzard conditions, 29 March 2022, 12:35pm (photo by Kate St. John)

Finally the temperature rose rise above freezing at midday 29 March but it was too late for the early-returning tree swallows who had no insects to eat right when they needed lots of food to stay alive. Julie found three dead in the bluebird boxes she tends at Moraine State Park. Fortunately purple martin landlords kept their early birds alive with supplemental feedings.

Flowers took a beating, too. The squill pictured at top bloomed after the frost passed but its tips were damaged. You can see the same effects on northern magnolia bud and flower below.

Frost damage on northern magnolia bud, Schenley Park, 30 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)
Frost damage on northern magnolia flower, Schenley Park, 30 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

Forsythia wilted.

Wilted forsythia flowers after the frost, 28 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

Meanwhile some alien plants came through without a scratch. Coltsfoot sent up cheerful flowers in the sunshine on 30 March.

Coltsfoot blooming on Eckert Street, 30 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

And lesser celandine bloomed at Frick Park on 31 March.

Lesser Celandine, Frick Park, 31 March 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

Though tonight’s low will be 31oF the rest of the week will be above freezing, though wet. I hold out hope that April won’t see a long hard frost.

(photos by Kate St. John)

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