The Q&A Archives: Frost Damage

Question: The leaves on our Queen Palms and Bird of Paradise have turned completely brown from the recent freeze here in California. I don't know what to do to save them. I'd appreciate your advice on what to do.

Answer: Your Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) will recover slowly from the low temperature damage, but the roots should be strong enough to produce new foliage by early next summer. Simply cut back the damaged leaves and remove them from the garden. If more freezing weather threatens, place several inches of mulch over the bed to help protect the roots. The palms are hardier and shouldn't be permanently damaged. They will generate new leaves when the weather warms. In the meantime, cut back the damaged foliage and remove it from the garden. When new growth begins, keep your plants well watered and feed lightly, if at all. (Your plants will need some time to recover, and too much fertilizer too early in the season will be more stressful than helpful.)

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