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     Marijke & Piet.

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Frost damage, to survive or to die ?

As mentioned in my earlier post Tracks in the snow we had an unusual winter with extreme frost. This is the first time ever that we have substantial frost damage.

Although we have previously had these low temperatures and minor damages, the combination of factors this year was very different and fatal to some plants.

After an extreme delay the winter has now commenced. Last week (February 1, 2012) we got about 20 cm (8 inch) snow. We also had the pleasure to be the coldest spot in the country with -22,9 °C (-9.2F).

Soon after the snow had disappeared the frost damage of some hardy evergreens was apparent almost immediately. First this showed as yellow and brown colouring of some leaves at the skirts.

Our beautifully shaped Prunus Lusitanica in the frond garden (above) was seriously damaged in particular at the top. So badly that I decided to prune it back some  10 to 15cm or 4 to 5 inches right away. This is a strong plant and I am sure it will survive.
Some other Prunus Lusitanica plants of a “mountain-ridge” karikomi, in the main-garden had some damage, in particular at the west side, that we have also pruned back.

In the front garden we also have Prunus Laurocerasus “Otto Luyken” (right) that has frost damage, for the first time. Scattered brown leaves. I leaf these in because I expect them to drop off soon. Then I will decide whether or not to prune back the outer branches.

The foliage of our Euonymus Japonica “compactus” (in the main garden behind the house) exhibited early symptoms of frost damage (below).  It appeared water-soaked and yellow and turning brow with black spots in the following weeks. The top end of many branches where hollow. Although early in spring I decided to prune it back to what looks as “living” wood. That was some 20cm or 8 inches. 

Euonymus Japonica “compactus” close-up of frost damage as it looked immediate after the snow was gone. Not that bat.

Euonymus Japonica “compactus” frost damage after a couple of weeks. Now this looks like serious damage to me (this is how it should look). The young growth (top leaves) of the bamboo (to the left of the Euonymus), Sasaella masamuneana also has frost damage. These will get removed later when they have dried-up some more.

Euonymus Japonica “compactus”, frost damage winter-pruning, halfway.

Euonymus Japonica “compactus” the frost damaged shrub after winter-pruning and no leaves left.

Now we have to wait and see if this was not too drastic and also sufficient. I think that the roots are still alive and also the lower parts of the branches gave that impression. If not the next step will be to replace it. I consider leaving the damaged plant in the ground until mid-summer. If no re-growth has appeared by then, then I will replace it,.. but this time not with a Euonymus as this is know to be not very hardish.

Related: Shrubs.