Winter Damaged Hydrangea & Crape Myrtle-How to Treat

Winter Damage to Hydrangea & Crape Myrtle

This past winter has been recorded to be one of the worst for winter damage to foliage of plants in the past 25 years. I have witnessed winter damaged Hydrangea and Crape Myrtle on many properties I have visited and have been getting many inquiries as to how to remedy the damage that has occurred. Chances are that your plants will fully recover so I am passing on this useful information.

hydrangea winter die back

Hydrangea Winter Damage

If your hydrangea are sprouting new growth from the bottom only with no new sprouts on the upper stems and visible shoots on bare wood have a dark dried up appearance then they are not viable. To remedy cut back all dead wood down to where new growth is occurring.  If your variety of hydrangea blooms on old wood you may not get blooms this year but your hydrangea should fully recover.

crape myrtle winter damage

Crape Myrtle Winter Damage

In the case of Crape Myrtles most of them survived but have dead top growth. It is advisable to wait until the end of June/beginning of July to cut back branches to new growth in order to allow the plant to sprout as much new foliage as possible. Other plants showing winter damage besides hydrangea and crape myrtle include butterfly bush and roses.  Use the same practice to remove expired growth.

Butterfly Bush Winter Damage

Butterfly Bush Winter Damage

 Due to the unusually harsh winter plant growth is delayed by approximately two to three weeks this season.   New growth will have a slow start this spring but with some patience and proper care your plants should show full recovery.

  As Always…Happy Gardening!

 Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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May Garden Planting & Maintenance Tips

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May is a great time for planting when the temperatures are in the 70’s.  Here are some useful tips.

PLANTING DEPTH OF TREES :  One of the leading causes of death for trees is incorrect planting. Large tree spades are often used to dig trees that cause the soil level to rise up covering the crown of the root ball. Plant your tree slightly above the soil surface so that you see a visible flare above the ground. When mulching make sure that the mulch does not come up above the root crown. Following these simple practices will help to ensure the health and life of your tree.

WATERING:  Water throughly after planting and keep well watered throughout the first growing season. Be careful not to over water! Feel down by the roots to determine whether the plant is getting the correct moisture. Soil should appear moist but not wet or overly dry. Consider type of soil, time of year and amount of sun and rain.  Watering every other day at approximately forty minutes per zone allows the water to penetrate deep enough to the roots.  If you do not have a sprinkler system the use of soaker hoses is recommended. Water should be applied at a rate of 3/4 inch of water every three days or 1 1/2 inches a week. (One inch of water goes down 6 ” into the soil.)

PRUNING EVERGREENS: Most evergreens can be pruned at any time of year except when the weather is too hot or right before temperatures start to drop below freezing.  Ideally, late winter and early spring are best.  Most evergreens will not take well to hard pruning.  The only exception is Taxus (Yew) which may rejuvenate over time. No plant is completely maintenance free so keep your evergreens trimmed to their desired size. This will also keep them full and healthy and prevent thinning out. NOTE: Evergreens will shed their needles or foliage in the Fall/Spring to allow for new growth. If any branches appear brown or dead after planting or after winter, trim them off and allow the plant to rejuvenate. When in doubt ask a professional.

PRUNING FLOWERING SHRUBS: Prune flowering shrubs and flowering evergreens after the bloom. Flowering shrubs such as hydrangea bloom on the last years growth and will not bloom if cut back in Spring with the exception of the Endless Summer Collection which blooms on new wood (click on hyperlink for article on pruning all types of hydrangea). Prune Lilac for shape after flowering in spring.

FERTILIZING: Feed plants in spring.  For new plantings allow the plantings to become established then apply a slow release organic fertilizer or apply a “starter” formula when planting. For established plants there are several products on the market. Be careful not to buy a concentrated product that will burn the roots. A slow release or organic fertilizer such as Holly Tone is recommended. Also when planting, a mixture of hydro-gel along with a slow release fertilizer will help to retain moisture in your plants.

INSECT CONTROL: Periodically check your plants for insect or fungal damage and treat if needed. It is advised to use a regular insect control maintenance program to keep your plantings healthy.

LAWN CARE: Ideally sod lawns are best planted in spring and seed best planted in the fall. Your lawn should also have a regular maintenance program to keep it at its best-ask your professional.

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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February Garden Maintenance Tips

Winter Garden

February Gardening Tips

As we head into the second half of winter in zone 7 there are a number of outdoor tasks that can be performed in order to ensure the health and vitality of your landscape plants.

Frost Heaving:  A usual occurrence in winter is frost heaving.   Soil around your perennials freezes and thaws causing your plants to heave up out of the ground.  This causes the plant to dry out and become more exposed to the cold, usually leading to the demise of the perennial.  An easy remedy is to lightly step on the soil around the plant and add a thin layer of mulch to protect it the roots. 

Winter Pruning:  Prune ornamental flowering and fruit bearing trees in need of shaping while they are still dormant.   Generally, trees that flower after June set their buds in spring and can be pruned while dormant.  Early spring-flowering trees set their buds in winter and should be pruned after flowering.  In cases where the tree is in desperate need of pruning it is more beneficial to lose a few blooms and prune when the branch structure of the tree is visible and easier to see.  Prune out any damaged or crossing branches that could cause injury and jeopardize the health of your tree.  Additionally, it is good for the aesthetics, structure and continued flowering of  your ornamental trees to give them a good shaping on a regular basis.  This task can also be performed in the late winter.

Winter Drying (Desiccation):  Check your evergreens for signs of winter drying.  If a period of warming and thawing has occurred in mid winter it may be time to apply a second round of anti-desiccant to your broadleaf evergreens such as Holly, Rhododendron, Acuba, Cherry and Skip Laurel, Boxwood and Euonymus.  Perform this procedure only if the temperature is going to be above freezing for 24 hours.

As March and April approach there will be more tips on maintaining the garden.  For now performing these simple mid-winter procedures will help to ensure the success of your landscape plants.

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Pruning Butterfly Bush

Buddlea (butterfly bush)

Butterfly Bush

Pruning Buddleia (Butterfly Bush): When doing your fall clean-up avoid pruning Butterfly Bush all the way back here in zone 7 where winter is approaching.  If  a severe winter is on the way this practice could be detrimental to your plant.  Rather,  wait until late winter/early spring (March-April) to perform this task.  At that point you may prune your plant all the way back and promote fresh new growth for spring.  Buddleia does benefit from a severe pruning in the start of the season to promote larger and more frequent blooms.   It is also beneficial to prune off dead and faded flowers on Butterfly Bush once the flowering season has completed (August/September) in order to put energy back into the plant and promote more blooms into fall. For more information on buddleia (butterfly bush)  visit…http://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/2011/03/pruning-buddleia-butterfly-bush.html

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2012, All Rights Reserved

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