When should gardeners prune freeze damage?

By Jim Janke | Mar 17, 2014

Record breaking low temperatures in January caused a lot of frozen pipes and other problems. And landscape plants took it on the chin as well. When is a good time to start pruning the freeze-damaged stems from shrubs and perennials?

Remember the Easter freeze of 2007? Many plants were severely damaged or killed by abnormally low temperatures, because the juices were already flowing in plant stems. But this year’s sub-zero temperatures occurred when plants were dormant, and much less susceptible to harm.

So be patient. Many plants look bad now, but will recover nicely as spring progresses. Wait until at least mid-April (and maybe later) when significant new growth has appeared, to start cutting into those supposedly damaged stems. The situation might not be as bad as it looks.

Jim Janke is an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Haywood County. For more information call the Haywood County Extension Center at 828-456-3575. © 2014 NC State University.