Plants damaged during Florida’s cold fronts? Here’s how to treat them

News 6 meteorologist offers tips on when to fertilize, prune plants to maximize recovery efforts

Were your plants damaged by the freeze? Here’s what to do next.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tired of looking at the brown leaves on cold damaged plants in the yard?

As displeasing to the eye as it may be, rushing to prune them away and fertilize the plant back to health again could do more damage than good.

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With January and February being the coldest months in Florida, and fronts in December often bringing freezing temperatures, it’s good to know proper plant care tips like that.

A month ago, Central Floridians woke up to freeze warnings and frost advisories. There was even sleet along the Brevard coast Christmas morning.

Needless to say, there’s quite a few plants in the yard that may need a little extra love. Lucky for us, freezing temperatures don’t stay around for long periods of time in Florida so it’s likely for most plants to survive if properly cared for.

Here are a few tips to keep your foliage thriving through the last bit of winter.

  • After a cold snap, water is always a good idea. Watering a lawn after a freeze helps defrost any parts of the soil and rejuvenates grass and injured plants.
  • Patience is key to bringing life back into the lawn. Hold off fertilizing grass and plants because fertilizing too soon could encourage new growth before the cold weather has left. Waiting until spring is your best bet.
  • Dead foliage can look bad, but also can be vital to the survival of the plant. The dead leaves act like a coat insulating the core of the plant. Once warmer weather arrives, assess the damage done to the plant to determine where to prune them. The best way to do this is by waiting to see where new growth sprouts. You can also check on hearty plant stems by scraping the bark back. Cold damaged bark will be black underneath.
  • If plants don’t survive the freeze, be sure to remove them. Digging the plant up will prevent fungal or bacterial problems which can happen as the plant decays, which can spread to other plants.

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About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.