Enter the polar vortex. Besides adding a new term to our collective lexicon, it brought bone-chilling temperatures, wild weather conditions and no shortage of cold-injured trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Here's what you might see in and around your landscape-and what to do about it.
Because plants are living things, they have cells just like we do. When temperatures drop rapidly, tiny ice crystals form inside tender plant cells, causing them to rupture anywhere from root to leaf tip. The damage to the plant may be minor or major.
The Signs - Minor damage to the portion of the plant:
Here's what to use:Individual Trees & Shrubs
Sometimes the damage is so severe (usually more than 50% of the plant is not leafing out at all) that it's better to replace the plant than wait years for it to fill-in, especially if the plant is a "slow grower."
Many plants can handle a little expected frost - but not the continuous frost-thaw cycle.
Just like when pavement thrusts up and buckles from the frost-thaw cycle, so does soil. These alternating periods of freezing and thawing force some perennial plants and grass seedlings out of the ground, exposing their roots and crowns.
Extreme temperatures can cause irreparable cell damage, making it impossible to save the plant. Other times, frozen soil prevents plants from taking up enough water or nutrients to survive.