Pruning After a Hard Freeze

January 2018: So far this Winter (yes, we have seasons in The Villages) there have been several hard freezes.  On both Jan 4 and 5 the temperature dipped to 28F and stayed below 32F for 10 and 6 hours, respectively.  The most severe freeze event came in the early hours of Thursday Jan 18 lasted 8 hours and dipped to a low of 24F. 

Many species of plants, both native and exotic were impacted.  Most will recover fine in Spring, but please resist the temptation to prune now.  Wait until March 15, after which there is only a 10 percent chance of another freeze.  Why? Pruning stimulates new growth which is highly sensitive to freezing. In addition, pruning exposes the vascular cambium of the old growth to subsequent freezes .  Early pruning exceptions:  Now is the time to prune deciduous trees and citrus, 

Early February is the ideal time to cut back clump grasses.  By mid-March you can cut back dead stems / branches all the way to live material.  For cold sensitive plants like Fire Bush, that may be all the way to the ground.  Vines can be cut back to the ground as well.  You will be rewarded with fresh healthy growth and a fuller greener landscape by late Spring.

from Steve Turnipseed

We are conducting a survey of the impact of freeze on our landscape plants with results posted on-line.  Submit your written list of plants and their freeze impact at the meeting this Friday.  For each species (native and exotic), grade the level of freeze impact into 3 categories:

Freeze Impact

Optional:  Grade the plant’s location:


Coral Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens

Coral Honeysuckle
















Firebush Hamelia patens

Freeze Damaged Fire Bush

In our area (Central Florida), leaves often become red when temperatures drop into the 40°s F. Though native, it is quite tender and can be killed to the ground during a freeze. Regrowth from the roots is rapid and rampant, and it has proven to be root hardy through zone 9.  Fact Sheet 


Published on  23.01.2018