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April 23, 2015

Repairing Winter Plant Damage

From an evergreen shrub’s burned leaves to the total death of flower and leaf buds, winter can be a devastating season for our plants. With spring in full-swing it has revealed the significant damage the tough Michigan winter has caused. Here’s how to handle these common issues now:

  1. Winter Burn- The damage is from dehydrated plant tissues and occurs during winter when temperatures are frigid. All types of evergreens are affected. You will notice the needled evergreen plants will have brownish rust color areas. The solution is not to prune too early or aggressively. In many cases new growth will push out dead tips by late spring early summer.
  2. Frost Heave- Frost heaving occurs when periods of soil freezing and thawing push small, shallow-rooted plants out of the ground. This prevents the plants from having firm contact with the soil and exposes the roots. The solution is first try replanting, though most of the time the plants won’t survive. In the future, plant earlier in the season so plants develop strong root structures. Also, add mulch to help maintain more constant soil temperatures.
  3. Salt Injury- Damage appears as brown needles, leaves with burnt-looking edges or branch dieback. Sometimes exposing your plants and grass is unavoidable. In these cases flush the area around the plants in early spring by applying two inches of water over a two-to-three hour period and repeat three days later. For dead turfgrass, reseeding is not effective.
  4. Bent or Broken Limbs- Bending or breakage is due to heavy snow, ice or high winds. Arborvitaes are a perfect example of a plant that is affected by this. The best solution is to prune the broken limbs for a clean cut to reduce any risk of disease. This pruning to reshape the plant can also stimulate new growth in the coming season.

If you found winter temperatures took a toll on your landscaping give Continuum Services a call today at 248.286.5200 or email us at info@continuumservices.com.

For more information on winter injuries please visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/winter_injury_or_boxwood_blight