We have had a wild roller-coaster of weather patterns this year. Once again, we have had a “false spring” (several warm, spring-like temperatures prompting spring growth), followed by ice and snow storms. And, our plants have reacted to this swing in temperatures by sporting some winter wear.
You can recognize winter damaged leaves by looking at their brown tips and margins (edges). This is also called winter desiccation or winter burn. It is the result of dead tissue caused by a removal of water from the leaves at a faster rate than the plant can replace it through its roots, due to frozen water in the soil.
You will see this damage on plants in shopping centers, neighborhoods, parks and maybe, even in your own yard.
Don’t worry! New growth will likely push out from the crown and tips and replace the damaged areas. Don’t be surprised if some of the winter injured leaves completely turn brown and drop off. That is normal.
Most likely previously healthy plants will rebound just fine. Some smaller plants that may have not been well-established in the Fall, may not bounce back, but wait until well into the growing season before making any decisions to replace them. They might surprise you.
Some common plants showing their winter wear (damage) include: Euonymus spp., Holly (Ilex spp.), Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina spp.), Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) and others.
Now you know. Stay warm out there.