Late Frost - Knowledgebase Question

Greenville, sc
Question by pkernsgb
May 21, 2007
In april our area got a late frost. My gardenias took a bad hit. 90% of the leaves are black. I am thinking they are not coming back. I do not want to replace with the same. the smell was great but late frosts are costly. Can you recommend another shrub that is green most of the year and can tolerate a late frost. My house faces north and these three plants were getting mostly sun. Patty


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Answer from NGA
May 21, 2007

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Many plants suffered in the extreme spring season this year. Although the foliage may be damaged, I would still expect the plants to be alive. Established plants will recover and look good faster than replacements will be able to fill in, so you might want to give these a chance. You can check to see if they are alive. Live wood will be supple with green just inside the bark, while dead wood is brittle and discolored dull gray or brown. Trim off any truly dead wood, and gently strip off the damaged foliage. With a little time, these should leaf out, regrow and look as good as new. As far as replacements, nearly everything suffered in that untimely and unusual frost and every flowering shrub I can think of would have suffered. But, you could try hollies, for example.

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