Brown foliage on shrub due to severe freeze

stem gall distylium

Q: Can you tell me what is happening with my bushes at our house in Senoia? We cut them back in August and now it looks like they are dying. Is there anything we can do?

A: I had an immediate guess when I saw your pictures and you gave me the right information to check.

Back in August, your loropetalum shrubs had grown vigorously and were covering the windows. So you decided to trim them down. There was plenty of warm weather afterwards, so the shrubs put out fresh new growth. It grew 3″-4″ before cool weather arrived in November. But all that new growth never really prepared itself for cold weather.

Remember Dec 2, 2020? It went down to 24 degrees in Coweta County that night. The semi-tender new growth was completely unprepared for temperatures that low. The dead stems on top of your loropetalums are the result of freezing.

It’s unsightly but it won’t harm the bushes. If you are careful you can lightly trim the top to remove most of the brown growth. Otherwise, you can wait for spring, when new leaves will emerge and cover everything.

stem gall distylium

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