What's Bugging You?

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That quick-hit cold and wind was enough this year  to do some leaf damage mainly to broad-leaf

evergreens – especially ones that are only winter-hardy to the edge of our usual winter lows.

   That would include plants such as Nandina, Camellias, Cherry Laurel, Aucuba, Cleyera, Osmanthus,

Abelia and some Azaleas.

   The first-line symptom of cold injury is what you're likely seeing on your Nandinas – browning of

the leaf tips and margins.

    The lower that temperatures go and the longer they stay down there, the more this browning

or "winter burn" progresses. Tip browning can advance into complete leaf browning and leaf drop.

  Browned leaves of borderline-hardy broad-leaf evergreens and semi-evergreens such as Abelia

and Nandinas eventually will drop off and be replaced by new leaves in spring.

   They might look a little ratty the rest of the winter, but don't let that worry you. No need to do

anything now.

   Once your plants start leafing out in spring, you'll know if the cold caused any branch injury.

What could happen is that the tips will remain bare while the lower or inner branches push out new

shoots. Just trim off the dead wood then back to the point of live growth and let the plants fill back in.

You might see some of that same branch dieback happen to borderline-hardy deciduous plants (ones that

drop leaves in winter), such as crape myrtle, figs, vitex and some St. Johnsworts.

   Wait until at least early to mid May to see what kind of growth you're getting from existing

branches on these plants. Do the same pruning then – back to live growth once shoots start popping out.