The near record-breaking single digit weather we had about ten days ago was brutal. We are now starting to see signs of plant damage like this gardenia in our front yard.We are getting calls as some of us are concerned and not sure what to do. The best thing to do is nothing quite yet.
It is too soon to tell if the extended deep freeze just killed the leaves, or possibly the some branches or whether the entire plant has met it’s demise.
Dead leaves will often remain on the plant until new growth emerges pushing the old leaves off. Depending on the weather and type of plant we may see signs of new growth as early as mid Mid March or a late as May. Loropetalums are notorious for taking their time to put out new growth after winter damage.
Dead branches may eventually turn black or mushy. Most will become brittle and the cambium layer beneath the bark will turn brown rather than greenish yellow (see photo) This brittleness and browning of the cambium layer can take weeks to appear.Once you do see dead branches you can prune them off, but keep in mind it still may be too soon to tell if the entire plant is dead or if it will grow back from the base. Hydrangeas come to mind here. Often all their branches will succumb to stress from the cold, but grow back quite nicely from the base,
Be patient, and give your plants time to tell you if they will recover. I know it can be unsightly to look at brown leaves, but we may be pleasantly surprised by what comes back.
If you do have questions you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 770-442-3901