Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Kelly Heidbreder


Some plants still need TLC


Kelly Heidbreder


The growing season is in full swing, but not all of our plants are swinging.

I have had many emails about boxwood shrubs and knockout roses that have been knocked back from the tough winter weather.

I was walking in my neighborhood recently and spotted some of the evidence of winter damage on boxwoods. Many other plants have been stunted from the deep freeze and there are some basic steps you can take right now to knock them back on track.


Boxwood shrubs are really popular elements that usually become the backbone structure of your landscape. The compact branching and tiny green leaves make them a great choice to give you solid color all year long.

But when half of the shrub is bright yellow, instead of deep green, then you know there’s something wrong. This is a clear sign that the branch with the yellow leaves has had major frostbite and won’t be able to regenerate.

If the yellow leaves are just on the tips of the shrub, then you can give it a trim and it will flush out new growth over the next few months. But if a large part of the shrub is yellow, then you will be better off pulling it out and planting new ones.

Down but not out

I have also received many emails about Knock Out Roses that are stunted or damaged. This proliferate variety is very hardy and usually can withstand summer drought and rough conditions. But, record snow levels and late spring frostbite has caused much damage.

Since plants are vigorously growing right now, it is the perfect time to prune it back. Cut it back to remove all of the damaged canes. Prune your Knock Out Roses in late winter or early spring, while the plant is still dormant.

Remove any dead or damaged wood, do a little shaping if necessary, and take out some of the interior stems to improve air circulation. Every 2 or 3 years remove about one third of the old branches to stimulate new, fresh growth. I’ve even seen Knock Out Roses spring back beautifully after being cut down to 6-inches.

Feed them

Once you rescue the winter-damaged plants, give them a treat. Give them a gourmet snack by spreading a two to three inch layer of composted manure around the base of each plant.

The compost will combine with the soil around the plant and feed the roots as the plant tries to repair its self.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at 

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