Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Plant Damage in the Southwest

The recent minus degree weather here in the Southwest has done damage to numerous plant life.

Here is a list of what some will and will not do.

Most well established trees 5 years or older that went into dormancy stage (loss of leaves) will most likely come back with no problems. Exceptions: Palo Verdes, Eucalyptus, and possibly the Carolina Laurel's. Mesquite and Chilean trees should survive.

Junipers and Cypresses bush, trees and shrubs should have no problem. Most will probably turn a reddish color but the green color will return with warmer weather.

Lantanas: If you didn't cut back and cover heavily during Nov-Dec that chances that they will come back are nil.

Palm Trees: California, Mediterrean, and Mexican Fan Palms took a big hit...most likely you will have to replace them. If they have been there for more than 5 years I would wait to see if they show signs of life in Early April.

Some that were protected by other trees or plants might come back. Sago palms will most likely have to be replaced.

Mock Orange (pittosporum) probably will not come back. If they look red or a brownish color they will have to be replaced.

Wax Leaf Privets will survive the below zero degree weather. As will Most Hollies and India Hawthrone.

Cactus: Most will not survive and will have to be cut back considerably or possibly remove altogether. This includes agave plants. Most outdoor varieties of Yucca plants should survive.

Lawns: Bermuda should have no problem coming back but the process of turning green will be delayed. Fescue and Kentucky Blue grasses will look bad until early spring.

Roses: If you haven't already cut them back to about a 1/3 of the way down. Most roses are semi dormant in this part of the country. But, the weather last week has probably made most roses go completely dormant.

All pine trees such as the Eldrica, Aleppo, Italian Stone, and the Colorado Spruce trees will have no problem with the deep freeze temps.

We are still in the Winter season...use common sense when planting right now. Pay attention to the weather...predicting the weather is a complicated process and many times weathermen, TV and radio stations do not always get it right.

Cover your plants with thermal plant blankets most nurseries should have this product in stock. If not...tell them to get some.

Paul Guzman


  1. Good info. My neighbor has afghan pines planted all around his property that came out of the freeze by turning reddish brown. Do you think they are dead? Also I have a Mexican Elder and wonder if it will be fine? The leaves all shriveled up and are brown and dry now.

  2. Most Afghan pines should eventually turn back to their normal color (dark green).

    Mexican Elders will come back...You should see growth from the very bottom or the root system.

    It is a good idea to trim off dead or branches that are brittle.

  3. Josh in Alamogordo5:43 PM

    Our Palm tree in the front yard is showing signs of life after all fronds turned brown after the deep freeze. First new fronds are almost fully fanned out. It's about 5 years old.

  4. I hope there's a picture of it so we can see what does it looks like. Thanks!

  5. Photos of the severe early February freeze damage are coming soon. Including palms, mock orange, native plants and many more plants that were hit hard by the freakish weather winter.

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  7. This blog has a lot of information and the information here about the plant damage in Southwest is very much interesting. I hope I can help. Anyway I am thankful for sharing you this info. Keep on updating with us.