Post-Freeze Plant Analysis

If you’re like me, you are probably spoiled by the mild winters we’ve become accustomed to. You may have even neglected to properly protect your plants from the December freezes, and probably wondering if those plants survived. The answer depends on what condition your plants were in before the freeze, and if they were in a sheltered location.

A lot of our plants were stressed from the drought and more susceptible to freezing temperatures. While some plants likely didn’t survive, others may still have roots that are alive. If that’s the case, protect them now from any future freezes we might have this winter. Never use plastic to cover your plants. Instead, drape them with cloth secured by rocks at the plant base.

This is the first winter in quite a while that root-hardy perennials have completely frozen back. You can prune the dead foliage if you like, but it won’t hurt the plant to leave dead vegetation as shelter for birds. In my landscape, firebushesperanzaplumbago, Mexican heather and angel trumpet were frozen back severely. I won’t despair though because I know they’ll come back beautifully this spring and summer.

If we do have some drier periods, check the soil. If the soil feels dry to 1 inch depth, go ahead and give those plants a drink.

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Our Guest Authors are fantastic former SAWS employees, incredible interns and community leaders in the local landscaping world. They are all as passionate as we are about saving water with beautiful, diverse landscapes.
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