The Q&A Archives: Storm Damaged Shrubs

Question: We had a terrible ice storm in our area and my lilac is now bent over and frozenwith ice and snow. Should leave it alone or cut the tips to let it staighten up?

Answer: Believe it or not, snow is a great insulator for plants. It protects them from drying out in winter winds. I'd leave the lilac alone until the temperatures warm up and the ice begins to melt. Then you can assess the damage and prune out all the broken branches and frozen stems. Even though some of next season's bloom will be sacrificed to the nasty winter weather, lilacs are vigorous plants and yours will recover quickly once the weather warms.

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