Campus News

Blooms suffer late freeze damage

An early spring arrived in Georgia, coaxing blooms from their buds, but it was a cruel hoax. An Easter freeze left the beautiful blooms burned, black or blemished. Tender annuals and vegetable plants may be lost, according to Bob Westerfield, a UGA Cooperative Extension horticulturist. He advises pinching plants back to the ground or to a living, growing area of the plant if there is one. Replanting may be the only answer.

Woody ornamentals probably fared better in the freeze than annuals.

“We’ve seen some damage on woody ornamentals, including hydrangeas and crape myrtles that were beginning to flush out,” he said. “Where you see damage, cut them back to the good wood and they’ll come back when it warms up.”

There may be superficial damage to azaleas, but selective pruning now won’t hurt plants. Woody ornamentals may need a little extra fertilizer, according to Gary Wade, a UGA Extension horticulturist.

The freeze may have given a helping hand to homeowners who were slow to get pre-emergent weed treatments down.  If weeds are already up, apply a post-emergent herbicide recommended for your lawn type.

“Many grasses did green up quicker this year with the warm temperatures, but St. Augustine is most susceptible to cold,” Westerfield said. “Bermuda and centipede will be OK. They will green up as soon as it warms up.”