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Did the freeze kill my plants?

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Some plants can handle freezing temperatures with minimal impact.  However, seriously cold weather in addition to extended temperatures at or below freezing can be detrimental to plants.   Freeze damage will damage the leaves of plants first.  The real concern is when the temperatures drop below 28 degrees for extended periods of time.  At this point, the water inside the cells of plants expand and do critical damage to the plants tissue.  You can give the plant a few months to try and heal but most likely, when this happens, unfortunately the plant will typically not recover and will need to be replaced.  

If a freeze warning is in the forecast, we recommend the following to give your plants the best chance of survival:

  • Water your plants (and the surrounding soil) BEFORE the freezing temperatures arrive.  This will actually help insulate them during the cold weather.
  • Apply a thick layer of mulch around the roots of each plant
  • Cover plants with a frost blanket.  Be sure to cover the entire plant all the way to the ground and secure with stakes 

Leave the frost blankets covering your plants until the freezing temperatures have past.  Once the temperatures are back to normal, it is important to follow these steps:

  • Remove frost blankets and store for the next freeze
  • Thoroughly water the entire area around your plants
  • Hold off on pruning for a few weeks.  Pruning too soon could cause undue stress on already struggling plants, as well as, encourage new growth that is easily damaged by sudden drops in temperature.  
  • Best also to hold off on fertilizing so you do not encourage new growth too soon.  However, it is safe to fertilize once the risk of freezing temperatures has passed. 

We hope this information will help avoid, or minimize, the effects of freezing temperatures on your homes landscape! 

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