Not going to be a long post today, just a quick note to help some of my friends out there feel better about their gardening skills. I just wanted to set some minds at ease. To those of you who have old yews, rhodies, or other evergreens that don’t appear to have survived the winter, YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES! I talked in the fall about the importance of watering in the winter months when possible and here is the proof of it’s necessity. Many, many of you have serious damage to old, established evergreens which you have never given any special care before during the winter. My point is you’ve been lucky till now, LOL!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I told you so, (but I did tell you so). I’m just saying that many of you have recently become Mother Nature’s latest victims. Your evergreens have been assaulted with winter burn due to lack of moisture during the long dry months and crazy temps. And sadly, there is a very high probability that all your precious plants have “shuffled off their barky coil”. Many rhodies out there look just like the sad little guy in the picture. And even his distinguished big brothers and sisters look quite similar. Many coniferous shrubs do appear to still have a spark of life in them, but will they ever fully recover is very difficult to predict.
As you can see from this photo, their does still appear to be a glimmer of hope here, albeit very slight. In this case, the best recommendation I have is that you immediately begin DEEP watering and get some good evergreen fertilizer or one with a high nitrogen content (the first of the 3 numbers listed on the package) according to the fertilizer instruction.
I would throw out there, that I don’t suggest trimming plants or worse than that, replacing them, until your certain they are not going to recover. I know it can be tough to except since they tend to be unattractive while injured, but give them the summer to recover and if you still don’t see and results, then replace them either that fall or spring of the next season. That being said if a coniferous evergreen completely drops its needles, it is NOT likely to recover.
Now, another family of plants that seems to have taken a massive hit this winter is roses. However, I would certainly like to reassure you; just because all the old canes on your rose are grey and break easily, the plant is certainly NOT deceased. Many roses will die back to the ground during difficult winters. Then they will produce new shoots far down on old canes or even directly up from the ground off of old healthy root systems. After you begin to see the new shoots feel free to trim back the old canes. Again though, your going to want to feed with a good fertilizer (either a balanced mix or one specifically designed for your particular species of rose.) And of course, get the poor little guy some water!
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got today. Like I said, I just wanted you to know that your not alone. And as always, GOOD LUCK AND KEEP GROWING!!!