Confused Plants

We’re hearing from many of you about some plants that are not “acting normal” this spring.  Maples leafing out sporadically, peach trees blooming twice, grass not greening up, crape myrtles not leafing out, etc.  You aren’t alone in experiencing this, we’re going through it too.

Why is this happening?  We had a severe, deep freeze and harsh cold winds at Christmas that heavily damaged azaleas, gardenias, camellias and other plants in our area.  Most of February was very warm and our plants thought spring had arrived.  Then we received 2 nights of hard freezing temperatures that caused most of the new growth on our plants to freeze, turn brown and die.  Since that time our nighttime temperatures have continued to be lower causing our ground temperature to warm up slower than normal.

What that has left us with is some very confused plants and some that are truly damaged.  Over the next few weeks our nightly temperatures will continue to warm up and that will help determine which category your plant falls into – confused or damaged.  Confused ones will work their way through it hopefully by the end of May.  Damaged plants will need to be assessed to determine whether it is something they will overcome and if so, are you willing to wait for them to do so.

Assess the amount of damage by determining how much of the plant is alive.  If limbs are brittle and snap they are dead. If the limbs are pliable, then scratch the bark to see if is green.  If so, this branch/stem is alive.  Remove all dead limbs from the shrub/tree moving inward to the interior branches.  Once all of the dead branches have been removed then you can see how much of the plant is alive and determine if the plant is worth keeping.

Each year we say it’s been a weird spring, and this year again qualifies for that. Hopefully, you have few severely damaged plants and any “confused” plants right themselves quickly.

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