Is it Dead or Alive?

Which Landscape Plants Likely Survived the Freeze  

by Mike Dooley

As the historic winter temperatures hit, gardeners and landscape contractors alike wondered what was damaged or killed by the severe freezing conditions. Here’s the verdict.

Upright Rosemary plants on Albuquerque’s west mesa are burned but should be alright. Upright Rosemary plants in the rest of the area are mostly dead with a little life left deep in the plant.

Most Prostrate Rosemary plants are dead. As with all plants, test by scratching the bark starting at the tip and work your way down the stem. When you find green wood, cut the plant back to that point. Now you will have a really ugly plant, and at this point you may just want to go buy new plants rather than wait and see what happens.

If you decide to give it a try, fertilize the plant with a high nitrogen fertilizer (like lawn fertilizer) and water it in well. Fertilizer takes about two weeks to show any results, so give the plant one full month. If you don’t see buds at that point…compost it.

This is also the advice for your Dwarf Indian Hawthorn, Wax Leaf Ligustrum, Abelia, Crape Myrtle and Carolina Jessamine. You probably thought your Red Tip Photinias were dead, but they’re coming back really well. I’ve also noticed tip damage on Blue Mist Spirea and even Vitex. Nandinas took a real hit in the cold and most of them will probably have to be cut back to about six inches and regrown from the root stock.

Plants on the north side of the house will be slower to return than plants that are situated in sunnier areas so be patient.

Happy Gardening!