Dealing with Winter Injury to Your Plants

In January, we went over the range of effects that December's single-digit temperatures may have had on your lawn's health. The impact of these extreme temperatures doesn't stop at your lawn - you must also consider ways that your lawn's bushes and shrubs and your garden's plants have been affected. 

While a certain groundhog may have predicted six more weeks of winter, most Georgians should be able to tell you they haven't been feeling any temperatures below the 40s for most of February. With these recent spring-like showers and middling temperatures, now is a good time to get a jump on repairing the damage your plants have taken on during the cold spell. 

Identifying Damaged Plants

For your plants that collected decent amounts of frost on a cold winter night and morning, they will be feeling the effects of frost damage. If you haven't noticed already, take a look around your property to look for any shrubs, bushes, or other plants you have with leaves that may have been damaged by excessive frost. Their foliage will show signs of discolored or damaged leaves, or they may have even dropped their leaves entirely.

The harshness of winter's low temperatures and cold winds will impact your plants exterior growth, which you may notice by the tops of bushes discoloring, but not their bases. If you have areas of your property where winter winds may have seemed more powerful, you'll most likely find a good bit of damage in these areas.

Well, now that you've identified your damaged plants – what next? 

What Can You Do To Minimize Winter Damage?

One of the first aspects of your winter-damaged plants you will need to assess is their moisture levels. Winter air can be especially dry, and with added wind chill it's likely your plants might need a little moisture to help recover. It's important to note that you should only begin to water your plants when you know that the soil temperature is above 40 degrees.

This is also the time where you will want to be patient about new growth. Once springtime comes, if you're noticing branches or foliage that doesn't look like its recovering, then you'll truly know how much of the plant has been injured. Resist the urge to prune any branches or leaves that appear dead until you know they are. Pruning too early can actually eliminate food sources for your plants that they will use to recover as the temperatures rise.

In the future, the best way to help your plants stay safe during low temperatures is by avoiding premature pruning or fertilization in late summer and early fall. Plants may have already entered their dormancy period at this time, so removing their foliage and buds may weaken them before winter. Once you have seen good green growth in the spring, you can begin fertilizing and pruning dead branches and leaves left over from winter injury.

If you are interested in keeping your lawn green and healthy in 2023, contact AgroPro to learn more about our services, including core aeration, disease prevention, insect control, and much more! 

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