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If you’re like me, this winter’s extra-cold temperatures have taken a toll on many of your plants. I’m itching to cut off the freeze damage, but that is not what experts recommend.

In a recent article in the Gwinnett Daily Post, Tim Daly, UGA Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent, gives several great tips for assessing and dealing with freeze damage. These tips assume your plants are cold hardy and appropriate for zone 7B.

  • Bronze colorization doesn’t mean a plant or a branch is dead…it’s the plant’s reaction to a big chill
  • Scratch the bark with your fingernail. If the stem tissue is green or white, the wood is still alive…look for new growth in the spring 🙂
  • If the stem tissue is brown or brittle, the branch is dead. Remove this wood in the spring, after all threats of a freeze have passed.
  • Do NOT fertilize now. This could damage or kill the plant. Wait until all threats of a freeze have passed.

Brandon Voutour, a manager at Liberty Landscape Supply at Trad’s in the San Jose neighborhood of Jacksonville Florida, had a few tips for rehabbing cold-damaged plants on News4JAX:

  • Water everything, even if you think it is dead. Water will help keep the plant alive & revive parts you may think are dead.
  • Don’t remove dead leaves or other damage until spring. Most perennials and grasses will come back.

 So…hold off for now. It’s okay to add mulch and to water, but otherwise be patient.

 Here’s hoping we don’t have much freeze-damage!