Tips on How to Look For Winter Plant Damage

Drying out - lack of fall & winter moisture - especially with evergreens - burned needles or leaves - soil eroded away from roots         

Help: water during early spring to rehydrate - apply a 2 inch layer of mulch to further prevent moisture loss & work to raise soil level around plant

Plants popped out of ground from freezing/thawing cycles                               

Help: replant in the ground as quickly as possible to prevent plant dying from exposure

Freeze injury - usually on new growth - look for dead branch tips and branches                  

Help: avoid late summer to early fall fertilizing

Bark Split – rapid temperatures changes can cause tree barks to crack or split – common on soft wood trees such as cherry and pear trees (both fruiting and flowering varieties)

Help: wrap trunks for winter protection – remove wrapping before warm spring weather – once this happens there is no way to correct it – any long term damage would be determined by the severity and depth of the crack or split

Root injury can occur with plants growing in containers and planters – damage can be permanent yet not show up until mid to late spring

Help: protect plants growing in containers by moving them to protected areas – remember they will need moisture over the winter months to prevent drying out – plant containers in the ground or mound sawdust around them – wrap the containers in bubble wrap or heavy fabric and secure – for permanent planters, put a thick layer of mulch down to help keep potting soil at a more stable temperature

Broken branches should be pruned as soon as possible to prevent further branch or trunk damage

Some winter damage will not appear until spring growing season begins – branches that do not produce leaf or flower buds (depending on variety) should be considered for removal – evergreen plants may not show winter damage until summer months when brown patches may appear – some brown patches can be pruned out – large brown areas may not grow back on many evergreen trees

Road salt runoff damage – generally shows up on plants that are nearer roads or streets where roads are salted – areas within 20 feet of the road can be affected by salt runoff – damage may not show up until growing season – damage typically looks as though the whole plant has been burned – other plants may only show as burn or scorch on leaves or around leaf edges – road salt can build up in the soil over the years and all of a sudden poison the plants

Help: flush the area in spring with about 2 inches of water over a 2 to 3 hour period repeating 3 days later including areas that may have been salted by hand such as porches, steps and walkways – alternatives to salt are sand and sawdust