With a mild winter we might expect to see less damage to plants this spring. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures above average means that plants are beginning to de-harden early. We see several signs of this already, such as witch-hazels blooming in protected locations and sap in maple trees running two to three weeks ahead of normal. While other trees and shrubs may not show any signs of coming out of dormancy, They are softening up every day. Despite the lack of winter temperatures, there still is the risk of a hard frost. A severe cold snap can cause considerable damage to developing buds on trees and shrubs and cause shoot die-back, bud-kill or death of newly-emerging shoots. We will not know if we have any injury until late May or early June.