'Blind wood' or 'shoots with blanks'
The leaf buds below the terminal bud fail to open. This was common in all of SC in the spring of 2009. The 'blind wood' is likely caused by the heat and drought stress during bud development between mid June and end of July of the previous year setting weak buds, which are killed in the wintertime (Photo provided by Dr. Phil Brannen, UGA). BigRed is highly susceptible to this phenomenon.