When Louisiana Residents Should Prune Plants That Recently ‘Froze’
When the weather forecast came out about the sub-freezing temperatures for several days last week, many of us made sure we went outside to cover our plants. We brought in the ones that were small enough.
Now the temperatures are more moderate we think 'it's time to prune the things outside, right? The answer is not right now. It seems like it would be foolish to wait, but LSU AgCenter Horticulturist Heather Kirk-Ballad says you should put your pruning sheers down.
She points out in a story she wrote about this issue, trees, and shrubbery are much heartier than we might expect. She adds that with the chance of another freezing event, it's prudent to hold off on the pruning until March.
She says when you do prune you end up letting your plants expose new growth which is tender vegetation and if there is another freeze the tender vegetation isn't going to be able to fight as well against freezing temperatures.
Kirk-Ballard makes an excellent point about how things in our yards are likely tougher than we think:
Much of the freeze damage you are seeing now is likely on what we call tender plants-those that die in freezing winter temperatures. In mild winters like we often have in Louisiana, these plants are often able to survive.
Perennials, for example, she says will come back when spring comes around. Kirk-Ballard has other tips as well.
Kirk-Ballard says it's always a good idea to make sure your plants are getting plenty of water so that they don't suffer from hydration issues in addition to freezing temperatures.
Do your plants, shrubs and trees have a good layer of mulch? She says it helps to insulate your plants from various fluctuations in temperature and hydration issues. Using mulch helps to retain moisture which is very useful!
Kirk-Ballard points out that often when we in Louisiana make decisions about what to put in our gardens we often think mostly of what will sustain itself in our harsh summers. She thinks it's wise to think about freezing temperatures when we consider what we will be adding to our yards this year.