With our recent cold overnight temps may trees and shrubs that pushed out new growth or leaves early in the season have begun to show signs of damage.  A variety of trees and shrubs in the Charlotte area began to flower and break bud in mid February or early March.  These new flowers, leaves and twigs are very delicate and not able to defend themselves against the freezing temps.  Damage takes the form of blackened or dead portions on the ourter edge of the plant (This area is more exposed to the temperature extremes).

Healthy plants will be able to recover from this damage and push out new leaves and twigs once spring come into full force.  The damage will only be cosmetic.  The one large exception to this would be if the damaged plant is fruit producing.  Damage to new flowers on trees that produce fruit can have reduced production that season due to the lose of these important reproductive parts.

Waiting to prune damaged areas until later in the spring, once temps have moderated, is recommended.  Pruning too early might create additional damage or a portion might be removed that may in fact come back.  Fertilization of the plant can also be helpful by providing needed nutrients to the soil allowing the plant to utilize them for new growth.

Here’s a list of some common Charlotte area plants we’ve seen damage on:

  • Bradford/Flowering Pears
  • Flowering Magnolias (Not Southern Magnolias)
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Legustrums
  • Red Maples
  • Japanese Maples
  • Mulberries
  • Cherries
  • Plums

By:  Brandon Hogan