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Late Frost Hitting Your Landscape? Don’t Panic.

Frost damage that occurs in late winter or early spring after newly emerging shoots and flower buds are breaking open is often defined as late frost damage and can be very detrimental to plant growth and fruit harvests. Often times it may take a few days or even weeks for the damage to become evident. Frost damage is most often seen only in new growth needles and leaves.

Cypress, magnolia, maple, (including Japanese maple) dogwood, sycamore and a wide range of conifers are usually more impacted by frost than other species. Frost damage is usually evident by burnt looking tips on conifers and wilting looking branches on deciduous trees and shrubs.

In some cases, late frost damage does impact a tree to a higher level of concern in which there is little too no growth for the rest of the growing season. Something you can do is make sure they have plenty of water for the rest of the year (until dormant stage arrives again).

The sudden weather change from warm to cold will impact leaf and flower production. You may expect to see few or no flowers for the year. However, as long as the tree is vigorous enough its beautiful flowers and full-size leaves should return for next year.

Tips for dealing with late frost on trees and shrubs

  • Make sure to water often and as needed all season long. Water around the outer drip line of the branches.

  • Prune out any dead branches which helps to reduce points of entry of insect and disease.

  • After the first flush of growth is established, root fertilize around the drip line. To avoid undue strain on the root system, fertilize at 50% recommended rate both for mixture and volume of application being completed.

  • If and where needed, scout and treat for any pest threats that may be attempting to invade your frost stressed plants.

  • Unless there are other current pests, nutrient or cultural related concerns, then your once frost damaged trees and shrubs should recover back to normal within the next year.

  • Should you have further concerns regarding late frost damage on your trees call the tree doctors at Branch Tree Service. We’re always here to help!


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