Frost Damage

Frost Damage

Farewell Frost!


As we are warming up from the frigid temperatures last week, many of us are realizing some of the damage which has occurred to our landscape assets.

With our resources available PureGreen was able to be as proactive as possible in protecting your assets through the covering of frost sensitive flowers and plant species as well as adjusting irrigation water schedules to try prevent frozen water on sidewalks or take any measure to protect the irrigation system.

As the Valley's leading landscape company with multiple Arborists and landscape qualified experts we will be assessing your community landscape over the next few weeks and providing you with our recommendations such as corrective pruning, plant replacements or a plant health care plan.

On a positive note,
 
Frost damage to shrubs can often force cut backs or renovation pruning which can often rejuvenate old and tired shrubs with new fresh growth.
 
This is something PureGreen has been encouraging for years, over the dated shearing practices, and we have been one of the leading advocates in promoting the maintenance practices outlined in the Sustainable Landscape Management practices by Janet Waibel.
 

Here are examples of frost damaged trees and shrubs which we will tend to accordingly:

Trees
Some frost sensitive trees such as Ficus and Sissou trees will have likely been damaged by the heavy frost. The more mature and established trees should recover quickly but the younger and newer trees may have suffered more severe damage and possibly fatality. Based on our experience of the heavy frost we had a few years ago and our many Arborist's on staff we are recommending that the trees are left un-touched until new growth starts to form on the branches which might not show until April through June. As the tree starts to fully recover then any dead branches or limbs should be removed, obviously avoiding any extreme temperatures which might the trees in further stress.

Shrubs
Many different shrubs species were affected by the frost damage and we have included pictures of the typical signs of the damage. It is difficult to cover all species in this newsletter but we thought that some of the most popular species should be touched on:

  • Lantana - probably one of the dramatically effected species due to it nature and prolific use. Our horticultural recommendation is to leave the frost damaged branches on the plant for the next couple of weeks to protect the roots of the plant and then once the risk of frost damage is over then the Lantana should be cut back to 3 – 6" in height.
  • OleandersSageNatal Plum - These are hardier species and it is unlikely that they will have been affected as bad as Lantana. Again, our horticultural recommendation is to leave the frost damaged branches on the plant for the next 3 – 5 weeks to protect the roots of the plant and then once the risk of frost damage is over then they should be cut back to 12 – 18 in height or 50% of the size of the plant depending on the height.
  • Grasses - These may have some minor frost damage but typically January is the time when they should be cut back. We recommend that they are cut back level to 3 – 6" above ground level in during the next few weeks.
  • Bougainvillea - This species can be fairly frost sensitive where they either lose their leaves or the leaves turn brown/black. Again, our horticultural recommendation is to leave the frost damaged branches on the plant for the next 4 – 6 weeks to protect the roots of the plant and then once the risk of frost damage is over then they should be cut back to 18 in height or 50% of the size of the plant depending on the height.
  • Yellow/Orange Bells/Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma spp.) - These species can be fairly frost sensitive where they either lose their leaves or the leaves turn brown/black. Again, our horticultural recommendation is to leave the frost damaged branches on the plant for the next 4 – 6 weeks to protect the roots of the plant and then once the risk of frost damage is over then they should be cut back to 18 in height or 50% of the size of the plant depending on the height.

There are many more species which have not been covered in this newsletter but the underlying theme, from horticultural perspective and best practice, is to leave the frost damaged branches on the plant for the next 4 – 6 weeks to protect the roots of the plant and then once the risk of frost damage is over then they should be cut back to 12 -18 in height or 50% of the size of the plant depending on the height. If the plants are mature and have been around for a number of years then more than likely the plant will recover over the next few months. If the plants are fairly new then there is a higher chance of mortality and our Account Manager's will provide their recommendations on plant replacements etc.

Obviously many of our observations and recommendations are based on normal situations or circumstances and it is important to remember that outlying areas, retention areas or frost pockets may need slight variations to our schedule.