The cold weather over the weekend damaged many plants and it has some wondering what to do next. LSU AgCenter Horticulturist Dan Gill recommends waiting a while to see if the plant is actually dead, even if it appears to have damage.
“Sometimes damage takes a while to actually show up, sometimes plants that look like they may be possibly damaged recover and the damage isn’t really there. So give it five to seven days.”
Gill says once you determine if parts of your plant have been damaged, it’s time to prune the affected areas, but tropical plants should be treated differently than woody plants. He says with the herbaceous tropical plants, remove oozy, mushy, and foul smelling damaged tissue.
“With the woody tropicals, we may just leave them alone until spring comes around and those woody tropicals begin to spread out from their parts that are still alive, you can clearly see what’s dead and not sprouting.”
Gill says a technique to immediately determine if a woody plant is damaged, is to scratch the bark with your thumb nail and if the tissue is green, it’s still alive and if it’s brown underneath, it’s dead. He also says do not get discouraged if a covered a plant and still received damage.
“The purpose of the coverings is not so much to prevent any damage, it’s to save the life of the tropical plant. Even though you may have seen damage occur, it’s still worth covering your tropicals again.”