What are your plants saying?
Recommendations for storm-damaged plants and shrubs
What do we see after the freeze? A few disappointing things, but a lot of really positive signs!
Most annual flowers look bad. We aren’t going to talk much about this, though, because it’s almost time to change them anyway.
Loropetalums are pretty much smoked!Most of the ones we’ve seen so far have lost all of their foliage. Several are outright dead. The ones that are alive will have to be cut back to about one-quarter of their current size and allowed to grow back out. When this happens, they will be left bare. If you only replace the dead ones, it will look weird having some new, good-looking ones mixed in with other dead, bare-looking plants. It will take at least two to three growing seasons for them to get back to their original size and shape. We are recommending replacing these with new ones. You may be concerned with the same thing happening again next winter, but the reality is that this was a once-ina-lifetime event. Typically, loropetalum thrive very well in our climate, and you should not be concerned.
Indian hawthorns are another plant with a high mortality rate. All of them have lost their foliage and look completely dead. Most of them are dead and will need to be replaced. When deciding what to replace them with, we ask people to consider a different plant like the sunshine ligustrum.
Boxwoods fared the storm OK. We are seeing a lot of “tip death,” where the tips of the plants have died off. As it gets warmer and they start to grow more, the plant can be trimmed. After two to three trimmings, we predict most of these dead spots will have grown out and disappeared. There are some cases where the whole plant died, and we recommend replacing the plant with a new one.
Ligustrums seem to be a hit-or-miss situation. We have seen some that are dead and will have to be replaced while others look perfectly fine. Others seem to have lost half or more of their leaves. The good news is most are still alive. It may take the rest of the year to fill back out completely, but they should be OK. Considering the cost of these plants and the amount of time it takes for them to grow, we recommend leaving them alone and let them come back.
Live oaks may look bad right now, but they are just fine. Every year, they drop all of their leaves, but this happens over time and never leaves the tree looking empty. Following the ice, most of them around town have dropped everything, leaving them to look bare and dead. Don’t worry!
Ivies and jasmines are looking rough right now but will be OK. They are going to need all the dead removed but will come back with new growth.
Make sure you don’t remove the actual vine, just the dead foliage.
all palms lost their fronds but survived the cold. The dead limbs will
need to be removed, but they will grow back out this year. There are a
few cases where they were a total loss and will need to be replaced, but
overall they did well.
The Good to Great:
We are excited that azaleas are not a total loss. Yes, most lost their foliage, but we are seeing a ton of buds developing, and in a few cases they are starting to bloom already. They are going to require a decent amount of trimming and then allow them to grow back out. We do realize there are some cases where they died, but it’s not near the level we expected to see.
Yaupons are the heavyweight champs of the year! 99% of them look the exact same way as they did before the storm. They don’t need any special attention this year other than normal maintenance.
Sunshine ligustrums are another plant that thrived and doesn’t seem to be showing any damage at all. This is also the plant we are recommending people use to replace Indian hawthorn.
Holly trees fared very well. There seems to be a decent amount of foliage lost, but they are not bare and still seem full. Just keep performing normal maintenance with these.
Ornamental grasses did well and are already flushing out with new growth. Nothing to do or worry about with most of them.
Spring is upon us, and we are looking forward to seeing what is to come! Let us know if you have any questions.
Plant observances and recommendations provided by the professionals at Matthews Landscape & Pest.