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AFTER THE FREEZE

Wow, what a few days we have had! I wanted to share with you today some tips to guide you in your garden, as we recover from these last three days of freezing temperatures. As you walk around the garden some plants may start to show you signs of frost damage. You will most likely see dark areas on the leaves, wilting or a burnt appearance. The following are some things you can do to help protect these damaged plants.

DO NOT PRUNE: I know this is hard to resist, but if you would like to save this plant do not cut back dead or damaged leaves and branches as these branches and leaves are actually protecting the remainder of the plant from further damage. Another thing, pruning will promote tender new growth to appear which in the event of another freeze will surely cause more damage. Refrain from pruning until Spring– late February for perennials, and early March for tropical plants, or whenever chances of more freezes is over. At that point, trim damaged plant all the way down to ground leaving only a few inches of old growth. After you finish pruning use an organic fertilizer such as Sweet Green which is high in nitrogen and will promote new growth. If you like to use organics only add the liquid fertilizer Holganix. If you do not worry about organic gardening I would also suggest a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote.
ADD MULCH/COMPOST: This will be a great time to add compost and mulch to your beds to further insulate your plants’ roots and supply them with essential nutrients. Compost and mulch will also help with the microbiology of your soil keeping plants healthy and happy. We recommend Landscapers Pride hardwood or Pine-bark Mulch and Mushroom Compost installed about 2-3″ thick.
PROTECTION: A plant that has been damaged needs further protection. If it is at all possible to bring indoors do so. If it is not possible, wrap them in frost cloth, making sure the entire plant is covered and secured well at the base and no wind or cold air can enter through the bottom. I usually add landscape stone at the bottom to help secure it — anything heavy will work. Wrapping a plant well is vital. Other things I recommend doing is water you garden well before a hard freeze as saturated soils retain heat better than dry soil. Keep damaged plants well watered, remembering that in cooler weather plants do not require as much water. By the end of March beginning of April we will be able to see what has survived and what has not.
I hope that you all will find this post helpful, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Ciao Mardel