How to Handle Freeze Damage

Frozen deep golden ginkgo leaves at the base of my trees wasn’t what I had in mind as I watched my tree develop that beautiful fall color last week. I watched them land with a soft thud on the frosty ground this morning. When we get a really hard frost some plants do get nipped that normally would be fine in a light frost.  Here’s how to deal with frost damage.

Don’t be tempted to rush out and prune away the damaged parts of the plant.  This winter will have more cold weather and the upper part of your plant, even if damaged, can protect the crown from further freezing. This applies to citrus trees, too.  If a perennial like Mexican bush sage froze and is now gooey and black, cut the plant down to the ground. It will re-grow come spring from the root system. If the old, dead foliage and stems are not gooey, leave them until after the last frost next spring. They provide an extra degree or two of protection for tender new buds and shoots coming along for next year. This advice applies to all your perennials. And the best part, you don’t have to lift a finger until next year. One last tip: if you do have plants that need covering in a frost, use a blanket, towel or other type of cloth and not plastic.  The cold will go right through plastic covering and damage the plant.

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