Campus News

Prune carefully after a freeze

The recent, hard freeze can make landscapes look bad, but gardeners should take a wait-and-see approach before grabbing the pruning shears. Follow these tips to help your plants after they are exposed to low temperatures.

• Give the plants time to recover. No good will be done from pruning away what you think is dead; it still may be alive. Also, pruning away dead wood can expose buds-which still may be alive-to harsh elements. Another hard freeze just might wipe out any survivors.

• A plant’s water should be checked after a freeze. On a sunny day after the freeze, the foliage could be transpiring (losing water vapor) while the water in the soil is frozen. Apply water to thaw the soil and provide available water to your plants. Don’t overdo the water, though. Apply no more than 1 inch of water to landscape plants.

• If a high level of maintenance is desired, unsightly dead leaves can be removed after a freeze as soon as they turn brown.

• Remember even if plants in your garden are blackened and wilted, new growth still could be possible from below the affected area. Even though new growth and young branch tips may be damaged or even dead, older wood might be injury free.

• Be patient. It may take until mid-spring before you see any new growth.