Enter the polar vortex. Besides adding a new term to our collective lexicon, it brought bone-chilling temperatures, wild weather conditions and no shortage of cold-injured trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Here's what you might see in and around your landscape-and what to do about it.
Because plants are living things, they have cells just like we do. When temperatures drop rapidly, tiny ice crystals form inside tender plant cells, causing them to rupture anywhere from root to leaf tip. The damage to the plant may be MINOR or MAJOR.
The Signs - MINOR damage to the portion of the plant:
Dead branches or shoots - lack of new leaves or new growth in spring on branches or shoots
Die-Back - new leaves and new shoots only sprouting from the bottom of plant or near the ground
Scorched-looking leaves and needles on evergreens
The Fix - Feed to Encourage Replacement Growth:
Once spring arrives and plants begin to "green-up" with new leaves, cut away any dead limbs or branches that are not leafing-out.
Encourage vigorous new growth by replenishing much-needed nutrients with quality plant food.
Here's what to use:
Individual Trees & Shrubs
Shrubs & perennials in mulched areas
Major damage to large portion of plant
Sometimes the damage is so severe (usually more than 50% of the plant is not leafing out at all) that it's better to replace the plant than wait years for it to fill-in, especially if the plant is a "slow grower."
Replant deciduous, evergreen and flowering trees and shrubs, if necessary.
Before planting, improve soil conditions and give plants a boost of nutrients by mixing Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil into existing soil at a 50:50 ratio.
Many plants can handle a little expected frost - but not the continuous frost-thaw cycle.
Just like when pavement thrusts up and buckles from the frost-thaw cycle, so does soil. These alternating periods of freezing and thawing force some perennial plants and grass seedlings out of the ground, exposing their roots and crowns.
Blackened, spotted or scorched-looking leaves
Brown patches between leaf vein
Dark-green or water-soaked-looking foliage
Cover exposed roots and crowns to an appropriate depth by working Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil into the existing soil to build up the soil level
Insulate plants and keep soil from drying out by mulching with Scotts® Nature Scapes® Mulch
Dead Plants - Sometimes replacement is the only option
Extreme temperatures can cause irreparable cell damage, making it impossible to save the plant. Other times, frozen soil prevents plants from taking up enough water or nutrients to survive.
Dead wood or smooth areas without new bark
Dry buds or lack of budding
Replant deciduous, evergreen and flowering trees and shrubs, if necessary
Before planting, improve soil conditions and give plants a boost of nutrients by mixing Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil into existing soil at a 50:50 ratio