Changes in May: Observing Frost and Blossoms

Frosty Morning, May 23, 2015 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Frosty Morning, May 23, 2015
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Yesterday, I woke up to temperatures in the low 30°F range.  Given it was May 23, this was not normal for my area.  Looking out the window, I noticed frost on the ground.  Low-lying areas of the yard had denser, white frost than the higher areas.  This is because cooler air sinks, but warm air rises.  The cooler air also carries more moisture which, when cooled, forms frost.

Frost Types

Frost Up Close Lisa A. Wisniewski

Frost Up Close
Lisa A. Wisniewski

There are two types of frost.  Radiation frost is the type I observed.  It is caused when clear skies do not have any clouds to keep heat in the atmosphere.  This allows the temperature to drop lower than normal, facilitating the formation of frost.  Advection frost, also known as wind frost, is caused by large masses of cold air sweeping into an area.  The quick change in temperature that occurs creates moisture in the form of ice, resulting in frost.

Frost Damage

As I traveled my running route yesterday morning, I noticed the sun melting the frost rather quickly and that many of the neighbors had covered their gardens and flowers to prevent the frost from harming their plants.  The physical appearance of frost does not always harm plants.  What does harm them is the amount of chilling that occurs in plant tissues.  If chilled past a certain point, the plant tissues are damaged, causing stress on the plant.

I was not able to cover my tender tomato plants in the garden before the frost and the plants were damaged, left brown and yellow with a lifeless appearance.

Blossoms Not Affected

Azalea Lisa A. Wisniewski

Azalea
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Honeysuckle Lisa A. Wisniewski

Honeysuckle
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Wild Raspberry Bushes Lisa A. Wisniewski

Wild Raspberry Bushes
Lisa A. Wisniewski

On my biking route late last night, I was pleased to see the frost had not affected the wild raspberries growing along the road, the honeysuckle in a neighbor’s yard, or my azalea and rhododendron bushes in bloom.

Black Locust Tree Lisa A. Wisniewski

Black Locust Tree
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Also on my route, I noticed trees with very unique white flowers hanging down in clusters.  Closer inspection revealed the trees were black locust.  One area of my route was littered with these trees and their flowers, which left a sweet smell in the air.

Blue Skies At Sunset

Pedaling up the hill back to my house, I noticed the sun setting amid the blue sky with a few wispy clouds.  The sight made the nature-lover in me smile because it reminded me that nature is full of change.  All we have to do to experience and appreciate these changes is stop for a moment to take a look around us.

Sunset May 23, 2015 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sunset May 23, 2015
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day weekend, I like to spend a few extra moments observing nature, reflecting on life, and remembering all veterans.  This is my way of saying thank you to God and all who make sacrifices to answer duty’s call.  I ask that if you can, please remember or thank a veteran, whether male, female, canine, equine, or other; living or deceased; in active duty or retired.  I would also ask that if possible, you fly the US flag this weekend to show support for our country and to honor our many veterans.

US Flag Under Walnut Tree Lisa A. Wisniewski

US Flag Under Walnut Tree
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Azalea – http://azaleas.org/

Frost – http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/frost/?ar_a=1

Frost Damage – http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/weather/frost.pdf

Frost Types – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/488601/radiation-frost

Honeysuckle – http://homeguides.sfgate.com/long-honeysuckle-vine-grow-tall-56349.html

Locust tree – http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/locust

Memorial Day – http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp

Rhododendron – http://www.almanac.com/plant/rhododendrons

Understanding Frost – http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/weather/frost.pdf

Wild Raspberries – http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/wild-fruit

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