Harsh Winter – Are My Plants Dead?

Q: Has winter weather killed my (gardenia), (loropetalum), (daphne), etc?

A: With multiple bouts of sub-10 degree cold, the winter of 2014 will teach us all some lessons about how hardy our plants REALLY are. I’m wondering how my St. Augustine lawn will fare. How about my daphne and Carolina jessamine and Confederate jasmine? So far, I’m very impressed with how well my fatsia and pittosporum have weathered the cold. I’m betting gardenia, loropetalum and daphne shrubs will survive with varying amounts of damage.

Assuming the extreme cold has departed for good, what can we expect?

I’ll be looking for random branch die-back on azalea and rhododendron in early summer. If their limbs became cold enough to crack the bark, the wounds will open back up in April and allow fungi inside. The branch die-back will be seen in May-June.

On the other hand, my hydrangea branches reveal pretty green tissue beneath the bark and the buds seem tight and healthy. I foresee no problems there.

My bottom line advice? Do no pruning until mid-April. We may be surprised what greenery emerges then!

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