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Winter Damage on Landscape Plants

Year-Round Maintenance Keeps It Looking Good!

Seems to happen every year!  Just when it feels like winter is behind us, a cold weather system and low temperatures hit the Mid-South.  Sleet, snow, freezing rain, biting winds, and large temperature swings can have a major impact on landscape plants on commercial and residential properties.

Precipitation Damage

Heavy ice and snow accumulations on trees and ornamental shrubs can cause limbs to break under the weight of the precipitation.  Keeping ornamental plants and trees pruned regularly will reduce limb breakage and resulting wounds from forming.  Any damaged limbs should be pruned and correctly cut to minimize wounds and decay.

Foliage Bronzing/Browning and Dieback

Some evergreens exhibit yellowing or bronzing of the foliage when exposed to winter sun and wind, but return to normal color when growth resumes in the spring. Winter injury may be confused with early stages of some fungal diseases. Needles turn from bronze to reddish brown or brown, as a result of exposure to cold, dry winter winds.

Freezing and thawing can also lead to browning or blighting.  Permanent damage occurs when conditions are severe. Tissue death is caused by the removal of water in the foliage faster than the plant can replace it through root uptake in the soil.

 Temperature Swings

Blighted and brown foliage can be caused by warm temperatures in late winter that stimulate buds, flowers or shoots into growth too early. Subsequent spring frost kills young buds and tender new growth, resulting in fewer flowers and later leaf development. We often see this damage on Azaleas, Dogwoods, Japanese Magnolias, and other early blooming landscape plants.

Prevention and Care

The best prevention of winter injury is to use plant materials that are hardy in our area. Winter damage can be reduced by locating susceptible plants in protected areas away from exposed winds. Maintain adequate soil moisture in the fall to prevent winter dieback. Soil moisture is best maintained by fall mulching. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch will keep most soils in the Mid-South moist throughout the dormant season. All plants should be inspected for winter damage in the spring and affected areas should be pruned out.
The care of landscape plants is part of the lawn and landscape maintenance program for all of our clients. At Davis Lawn and Spray , we take pride in keeping properties in the best condition possible and exceeding our client’s expectations at every step. And that includes caring for your landscape plants year-round!


Call 901-569-5296 to set a meeting with Davis Lawn and Spray today!