What are we seeing after the freeze? A few disappointing things, but a lot of really positive signs!

The Bad:

Most annual flowers look bad. We aren’t going to talk much about this, though, because it’s almost time to change them anyway.

Loropetalums are pretty much smoked! Most of the ones we’ve seen so far have lost all of their foliage. Several are outright dead. The ones that are alive will have to be cut back to about ¼ of their current size and allowed to grow back out. When this happens, they will be left bare. If you only replace the dead ones, it’s going to look weird having some new good-looking ones mixed in with other dead, bare looking plants. It’s going to take at least 2-3 growing seasons for them to get back to their original size and shape. We are recommending replacing these with new ones. You may be concerned with the same thing happening again next winter, but the reality is that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Typically, Loropetalums thrive very well in our climate and you should not be concerned.

Indian Hawthornes are another plant with a high mortality rate. All of them have lost their foliage and look completely dead. In fact, most of them are dead and will need to be replaced. When deciding what to replace them with, we are asking people to consider a different plant like the Sunshine Ligustrum. Over the past several years, Hawthornes have suffered greatly from a fungus called Leaf Spot. This was already creating a massive issue with the plants losing their leaves and looking bare. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t going anywhere and simply replacing them with new ones is going to give you more of the same issues.

The Okay:

Boxwoods actually fared the storm okay. We are seeing a lot of “tip death” where the tips of the plants have died off. As it gets warmer and they start to grow more, the plant can be trimmed. We predict after 2-3 trimmings, most of these dead spots will have grown out and disappeared. There are some cases where we are seeing where the total plant died and are recommending to just replace the plant with a new one.

Ligustrums seem to be a hit or miss situation. We have seen some that are totally dead and will have to be replaced while others look perfectly fine. Others seem to have lost half or more of their leaves. The good news is most are still alive. It may take the rest of the year to completely fill back out but they should be okay. Considering the cost of these plants and the amount of time it takes for them to grow, we are recommending to leave them alone and let them come back.

Sasanquas and Camellias are another group that did way better than we expected. There are some younger plants that didn’t make it, but the more mature plants did well. There is some foliage damage to most of the plants where they look dead and burnt; however, this should go away as the plant grows and needs to be trimmed. A possible issue we may see is if the plants are trimmed too late into the year, some of the new buds could be damaged and affect the bloom cycle this coming winter. Consider the alternative of replacing the plant; this is a better outcome!

Agapanthus may be too early to tell, but we are confident everything will be okay. Hopefully by now, you have cut them back to the ground and gotten rid of all the dead foliage. We are already seeing new growth out of these and expect a full recovery. How much they bloom is still in question, but based on past experience we should be fine. This more tropical plant tends to get damaged more often requiring the aggressive cut back. In the years that follow they alway seem to do just fine.

Live Oaks may look bad right now, but are just fine. Every year, they drop all of their leaves but this happens over time and never leaves the tree looking empty. Following the ice, most of them around town have dropped everything, leaving them to look bare and dead. Don’t worry – they are fine!

Ivys and Jasmines are looking rough right now but will be fine. They are going to need all the dead removed but will come back with new growth. Make sure you don’t remove the actual vine – just the dead foliage.

Most all Palms lost their fronds but survived the cold. The dead limbs will need to be removed but they will grow back out this year. There are a few cases where they were a total loss and will need to be replaced, but overall they did well.

The Good to Great:

We are excited that Azaleas are not a total loss! Yes, most lost their foliage, but we are seeing a ton of buds developing and in a few cases they are starting to bloom already. They are going to require a decent amount of trimming and then allow them to grow back out. All things considered, we are thrilled they aren’t completely dead! We do realize there are some cases where they died, but it’s not near at the level we expected to see.

Youpons are the heavyweight champs of the year! 99% of them look the exact same way as they did before the storm. They don’t need any special attention this year other than normal maintenance.

Sunshine Ligustrums are another plant that thrived and don’t seem to be showing any damage at all. This is also the plant we are recommending people use to replace Indian Hawthorns with.

Holly trees fared very well. There seems to be a decent amount of foliage lost, but they are not bare and still seem full. Just keep performing normal maintenance with these.

Ornamental Grasses did well and are already flushing out with new growth. Nothing to do or worry about with most of them. Spring is upon us and we are looking forward to seeing what is to come! Let us know if you have any questions.

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