Tips to Deal with Your Frozen and Damaged Plants

Wait until the chance for any really cold weather to pass before trimming back your freeze damaged plants.

Two weeks ago the First Coast was hit with three days in a row of freezing temperatures at night and we are about to get hit with another freeze or two this week. This type of weather can be extremely rough on our landscape plants including shrubs, palms, perennials and citrus. After a freeze you look at your landscape and see some ugly specimens in your yard and you want to get out there and trim them up so they will be more appealing to the eye. Don’t do it!!!

You must hold off on the urge to tidy up your landscaping and deal with the fact that they may not be the best looking things around. If you start trimming them now, you run the risk of having more damage done to them if we get any more freezing weather. Wait until the chance for any really cold weather to pass; probably only another six weeks or so, and then you can determine the extent of the damage.

This is not that long to deal with the sight of these plants and could be the difference between replacing them completely or allowing them to come back from the bottom of the plant or the roots. Many of our plants may lose part of the top, but not the whole plant. If you trim this dead top off too early in the season, then the next freeze will damage your plants farther down the stem and harm them even more.

When cold weather approaches you may decide to cover your plants to ward off any damage. This is a good idea only if you do it properly. When covering a plant you must tent the plant entirely, making sure the cover goes all the way to the ground and is secure against the earth so the heat from the ground stays inside the tent. Throwing a piece of plastic or a sheet over the top of a plant can actually be worse than doing nothing at all. This just traps the cold air around the top of plant and does not hold in any heat.

Make sure that you check your sprinkler system and turn it off so your landscaping does not get ice all over it from the water that comes out while the temperature is below freezing. This will damage your plants even more then the cold weather alone.

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6 Comments

  1. Editor

    Thanks. Good tips.

  2. Editor

    Thanks. Good tips.

  3. Ameliaprivateeye

    Wow – good to know. It is much cheaper to wait six weeks than it is to replace all of my flowering shrubs. Thanks for the great advice!

  4. ameliaprivateeye

    Wow – good to know. It is much cheaper to wait six weeks than it is to replace all of my flowering shrubs. Thanks for the great advice!

  5. cynnielynn

    Thanks so much for this article. I had been looking at my plants and thinking I should cut them all back. I am glad I read this first. Maybe some of them will come back in the spring and I won’t have to spend the money to replace them.

  6. cynnielynn

    Thanks so much for this article. I had been looking at my plants and thinking I should cut them all back. I am glad I read this first. Maybe some of them will come back in the spring and I won’t have to spend the money to replace them.

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