Harsh winter lingers in sluggish spring plants

Jun. 16, 2014 @ 04:50 PM

Are your hydrangeas not sporting colorful blooms? Does your rosemary bush look lifeless? Are your perennial plants just not as healthy as past springs?

Blame the harsh winter, which is having a lingering impact into the heart of the blooming season for flowers and shrubs. This past winter, which brought frequent rounds of low temperatures and hung around into early spring, has stunted yards and gardens in the High Point area.
In some instances, the brutal cold in which lows dipped into the single digits snuffed out some plants. In other cases, the harsh winter has delayed the bloom of flowers and shrubs or cut down on the colorful return of plants.
“We just saw a lot of winter burn, where foliage on a lot of different plants turned brown, especially the outer leaves,” said Pam Rogers, perennial and annual manager for Price Nursery Inc.
Plants such as gardenias, rosemary and butterfly bushes were hard-hit by the brutal winter, Rogers told The High Point Enterprise. Other plants, such as hydrangeas, are reflecting the winter by blooming later or having stunted blooms.
“They are usually blooming about this time of year. A lot of things, such as hydrangeas, are going to bloom later, like some of the Madison jasmine,” she said. “A lot of our plants just aren’t used to it.”
Fig trees and sage plants also were stunted by the impact of the winter, said Ralph Soviero, co-owner of Soviero’s Tri-County Garden Center.
“These plants have either died completely or maybe knocked down to a point where they have just now put new growth out and have taken longer to come back,” Soviero said.
The last cold snap of the winter season may have damaged buds that were just emerging earlier this year, he said.
The winter not only was colder than normal, but lasted longer into the growing season, Rogers and Soviero say.
“Our season really didn’t start until May because we kept having those late cold snaps. Plants have only had a month to recuperate,” Rogers said.
pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528


Tips on coping with winter’s effect on plants
The winter of 2013-14 was so harsh that it continues to have an impact on blooming plants this spring headed into summer, which officially starts Saturday. Here are some tips for coping with flowers and shrubs burdened from winter’s wrath:
* Let a plant fully sprout green blooms or leaves before pruning dead portions.
* Fertilize plants to give them a boost and help them recover.
* Put mulch around the base to protect the plant’s root system.
* Cut back to the live wood in trees and shrubs, then wait for new growth to emerge.
Sources: Price Nursery Inc.; Soviero’s Tri-County Garden Center