Assessing Winter Damage

Assessing Winter Damage

April 24

This year’s winter was long, cold, and brutal for many trees, shrubs, and perennials.  Many trees lost limb and life during the February ice storm and marginally hardy shrubs and perennials were severely hit by the cold.  As new growth emerges, the full extent of winter damage is making itself known.

Some of the most common plants to be affected by the harsh winter are Crepe Myrtles and broadleaf evergreens, which include but are not limited to Cherry Laurels, Hollies, Boxwoods, Magnolias, Nandinas, and Camellias.

Burned Boxwood

Be patient this spring as some plants may be later than usual to push out new growth.  Monitor areas exhibiting winter burn for new growth.  Prune out dead branches to allow better air circulation and light to reach areas where living branches are pushing new leaves.

Thin barked trees, including Maples, Cherries, and fruit trees, may have experienced bark splitting.  Bark splitting is usually not fatal and trees can be expected to make a full recovery with these tips.  Avoid fertilizing trees in the fall as this encourages new growth right before their dormant period.  Do not wrap the split bark or paint the wound as this can trap bacteria and encourage disease.

It was a harsh winter so be gentle and forgiving with your plants this spring as they wake up!