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Last weekend, North Dakota experienced a late spring frost, during a time when trees are breaking bud and tender shoots and leaves are beginning to expand. A day or two after a hard frost, you may notice tree leaves suddenly wilting and turning brown or black. Late spring frosts may cause dieback on leaves of many different species of trees across a wide area. 

Trees that are hardy for your planting zone often recover very quickly.

Tree species that are not well adapted to North Dakota’s hardiness zones and trees that are already stressed can be killed back to the roots or may be killed completely.  

The damage to trees can include wilted and scorched foliage on deciduous trees and curled, distorted needles on conifers. Stems of young deciduous trees may develop vertical splits.

Trees grown from a non-hardy seed source can be severely damaged by frost. It is important to always buy trees from adapted seed sources to ensure their long-term success in North Dakota.

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