Why it’s Time to Revitalize Your Landscape: Assess and Repair Winter Plant Damage

Assess and repair Winter plant damage

At last, winter is in the rear view mirror. As far as the weather was concerned, most of the focus was the onslaught of the second half of winter, with nearly as much snow in a six-week window as compared to entire snowfall amount from the previous winter.

Horticulturally though, the long run of severe cold, with consistent nighttime temperatures below zero, is the factor which is impacting plant material. Winter burn, where leaves and needles become brown, is what facility mangers are seeing on their commercial sites in Westchester and Fairfield counties. If not too extensive, many plants will respond to a timely liquid fertilization. The application will need to be performed in the next two weeks to be helpful. A light pruning will also help the plant flush new growth in May and June.

Winter die-back is more serious. Not only leaves and needles, but also twigs and branches have desiccated from the severe cold and cannot be brought back. Based on the die-back present, a hard pruning to remove the dead back to the green wood and a liquid fertilization may bring plants back. For many applications, ELM abides by the one-third rule — if we are pruning out more than one-third of the branching, the look of the plant may be too severe for a well-maintained office site or campus.

Regretfully, some plants will have died and only removal and replacement is the path forward.

Important to your site specific plan is where the plants are located, their size and overall landscape value. Schedule a walk-through and make a list of the four categories: fertilize and light prune; hard prune and fertilize; remove and replace; and remove only. As the next 14 – 21 days is the window to get the fertilizer into the root zone, now is the time to walk and inventory your site to expedite a plan to re-mediate winter’s damage to your plant material.

WinterBurnA landscape can be brought back to life. ELM can help answer any horticultural questions and provide the right advice. Though we can’t control the weather, what we do does help most plants. Keep in mind there is very little that can be done to revive plants suffering from the extreme effects of freezing. Watering cold-damaged plants that appear wilted will not help to revive them.

We have started our “spring cleaning.” Call us today to schedule a walk-through to start revitalizing for spring.