Winter Kill… and Maybe Some Spring Cleaning

A Garden in Winter on www.jerichonursery.comHi, fellow bloggers…

I thought I’d pop in and give an update about plants that are making valiant efforts to return from our February cold snap.

As I mentioned in my earlier article (below), there are many broadleaf evergreens like ligustrum, rhapheolepsis and photinia that took quite a hit with severe winter burn. We are now getting many calls from folks who are finally seeing signs of life from not only the bottom of the plants but buds peeking out and up many branches as well.

The jury is still out on crape myrtles. And if someone has an oleander that comes back please post a comment and write about it below. You will give hope to many who are fearing the worst!

In my own garden I have found that most of my lavender did not fair well, nor did my pomegranates. I’m honestly a little surprised about my English lavender varieties and will likely give them another few weeks before deciding whether to take them out and start fresh. I am, however, one of the lucky few who has healthy rosemary – which is a shocker because they are the least likely to put up with sub-zero temps.

I am happy to report that many of my perennial herbs are making quite a comeback as well – thyme, chives, Greek oregano and parsley are all coming up and looking marvelous. And though it s not an herb, my leeks are VERY happy! Which, of course, makes me happy

(The above was an ‘Update’.  Here is the original article:)

In much of the southwest we ve had the coldest winter in decades – with temperatures plummeting to well below zero in many areas of my state. We are getting countless calls asking if this or that may have made it through the winter.

Here s what you need to know: plants that would be considered tender for your area will suffer pretty extreme damage on top, and if the roots got a little too cold the entire plant will most likely succumb. In Albuquerque, every oleander and crape myrtle in town is cause for concern.

This does not mean that you should go running to your local garden center and complain that they sold you a plant that s not hardy, it just means we had an atypical winter. In my recent outings around Albuquerque, I have seen numerous broadleaf evergreens, namely Raphiolepsis (Indian hawthorn), Photinia (red-tipped photinia) and Ligustrum (wax-leaf privet) that have suffered some pretty ugly winter burn – which mimics the look of a lack of water, with crispy brown leaves on the top 8 – 12 of the plant. However, the underside of the plants seem green and relatively healthy. In this situation the best thing to do is cut out the dead to encourage a healthy flush of new growth.

If you have deciduous plants like say crape myrtles, its best to wait it out and see if anything buds out later this spring. If you do see some signs of life cut the dead back to the buds. In some cases, this may result in an ugly shaped plant or an excessively small one depending on how far you need to cut things back, in which case you may decide to just replace it.

All of this said, you ll be surprised how resilient many of your plants will be. And for the few you may need to replace, think of it as an opportunity to try something fun and different.

By Jennifer Timms Hobson, originally published March 11, 2011

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