Dos and Don’ts of Cold Damage

Cold nights are all too common in February in Central Florida. Luckily, our freezes don’t last very long, but unfortunately, it doesn’t take many sub-40-degree days in a row to hurt many plants and trees.

 Stay optimistic, damaged, and dead are two different things, this blog will help you save some of your favorite parts of your landscape. 

What to cut
Let’s start with the dos. Cold damage on plants can resemble mush. Cut all damaged tissue. This will prevent any disease from spreading from the dead section to the other parts of the green plant. The word green is critical, don’t remove anything with wood stems, we’ll get into that a little later.

Winter can be especially tough on flowers, such as impatiens and tropical fruits. If you notice that the growth has collapsed, trim it away. This, too, prevents bacteria from decaying parts of the flower that’s still alive.

After an unusually cold night, grab the hose. Injured plants need water. The water will also help insulate them from the next frigid night.

Take it easy
Now that we looked at what we should do; let’s go over what not to do this winter, and these two tips may go against your natural green-loving instincts.

First, put the shears away until spring. Don’t trim any damaged branches on trees and woody plants. Think of them as your landscape martyrs. They died so the rest of the material can live. Dead limbs insulate the ones that are hanging in there against the elements.

Second, don’t fertilize either. You may think fertilizer is like giving your green friends a booster shot, and it sort of is. However, the last thing you want to do is encourage new growth while old man winter is still lurking around every February corner. Any weak new growth is no match for another cold night.

It’s winter, give yourself a break. There’s not much to do but wait it out. March will be here before you know it. That’s when it’s best to fertilize and prune. Until then, enjoy comparing the February temperatures here to friends up north, and rest up for maybe a busy spring in your landscape.

We would love to take all the work out of your yard for you. Esterline Landscape offers maintenance packages that include caring for your trees and plants like they were our own. Hit the ‘Get Free Estimate’ button if you have any questions or want us to give you a free estimate on what it would cost for us to make your property the envy of your neighborhood.
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