4 step process to repair frost damaged plants

As we continue to service properties in the Gilbert and Chandler area we are seeing frost damage become a bigger and bigger problem. With an influx of new homes, builders are giving little regard to plant hardiness when selecting the plant material for these new designs. We are constantly developing educational material, training our teams, and taking the best actions we can to preserve the plant material for our clients. Our crews have been trained to care for your plants and retain their natural shape and color wherever possible. Here are a few steps we follow (and things you can do as well) when we do encounter a season with unusually low temperatures:

4. DO NOTHING! Yes, we said it. During December and January when we do receive a hard freeze it’s very tempting to prune out the dead (Because it’s ugly). But this is the worst possible time to prune plants. We want to leave pruning until AFTER the last night freezes are behind us.

Frost Damaged Bougainvilleas

Frost Damaged Bougainvilleas

3. Watch for the ‘Threat of the last freeze’. Each year we will usually set our calendars to Valentines day (February 14th) as a good starting point for the warming weather. Once we know we will not have any more overnight freezes we can begin to plan for dealing with potentially frost damaged plants.

(Things to watch for: Mesquite tree’s are a great indicator of freezing temperatures being a thing of the past! Watch for the mesquite tree’s to begin putting back on their green, this is a great indicator that it’s OK to start our renewal pruning).

2. Assess the damage. Plants that were not visually affected by the freeze (No visible frost damage) can be pruned to control either their shape, or structure. Plants that were damaged by the frost will need to be pruned to promote new growth and hopefully survive. There are many plants whose most effective pruning method is a ‘renewal’ pruning which requires the plant to be cut to the ground (Lantana, Oleander, Desert Bird of Paradise, Rose’s, Hybisus, etc…). This can be an extremely shocking experience, as you see your plants cut to the ground, but it IS the best chance for the plant to put on new healthy growth and survive the harsh

temperatures.

Frost Damage

Frost Damage

1. Water and Fertilization. After dealing with the damage via pruning, we want to make sure we have verified that our plants are receiving enough nutrients and ‘food’ to rebound. Seasonal adjustments should be made and the 24″ Watering depth should be re-established from the winter watering schedule.

Following these steps should provide us vibrant and healthy plants by late spring and throughout the summer! This is a process that we administer as part of our regular maintenance at no additional charge for those customers who start service prior to Oct 1st of the previous year and maintain service throughout the winter months. This is also available as a one time service (Cleanup). Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need some help with your frost damaged plants.

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