This is a good time of year to check for bud survival in fruit plants. You can do this by carefully slicing through a few buds with a sharp razor blade. If the center of the bud is brown or black, it has not survived the winter. If it is bright green, then it should be healthy and ready to begin growth when spring arrives. The winter temperatures haven't been extremely cold this year, but they have been cold enough that we might have damaged peaches, blackberries, and tender varieties of grapes. It is important to assess bud survival prior to pruning plants so that if a significant number of buds have been damaged, some adjustment in pruning severity can be made.