A website from UGA Cooperative Extension

It’s the time of year that we often encounter dips in temperature. These cold snaps and winter storms can be a problem for our sensitive landscaping plants which may or may not be able to survive these events. Depending on how cold it gets, what species are in your yard, and where shrubs and small trees are located in your yard will all impact their ability to withstand a winter event.

Every few years, we experience ice storms which can negatively impact our trees and shrubs. The greater the ice accumulation on branches, the more likely the plant will experience damage or die back. Ice formation causes branches to become stiff and brittle. This can make them susceptible to breaking in high winds, which often accompany a winter storm. The increased weight from ice or snow can also cause limbs to snap.

It’s important to make sure plants are protected from winter storms. Evaluate the shrubs and trees in your yard and consider how their location could impact their ability to withstand harsh weather. Shrubs and small ornamental trees close to a home may be sheltered by the edge of the roof or side of a house, whereas shrubs out in the open may need more protection. Monitoring weather reports and then wrapping shrubs in burlap before the storm can help them survive cold snaps, ice, and snow.

Don’t forget your trees. Consider the location of larger trees that have branches hanging over roofs, roads, or power lines. These limbs may need to be pruned to prevent them from falling and causing property or utility damage during a storm.

Always choose shrub and tree varieties suited to your location and hardiness zone for the best results. Research the current plants that you have to assess their local hardiness and sensitivity to cold.

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