3810 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 876-1014

Archive date:  February 19, 2015

The Grip of Winter

Only 29 days until spring…

After this week, 29 days seems like an eternity.  What happened to the mild winter we were having?  Out of nowhere, when we least expected it, the ‘Old Man’ himself makes a rude and surprising appearance.  We’ve had freezing rain.  We’ve had sleet.  We even had snow.  Some have had near zero temperatures. (We really dodged ‘the bullet’ there; some forecasts earlier in the week were calling for -10F) The Friday forecast calls for more of the frozen stuff, then gratefully turning to rain on Saturday.  When was the last time you were grateful for a rainy Saturday and Sunday?


Hopefully Saturday and Sunday rainfall will melt away the misery of the week past. What are we left with?  Many of us have trees and shrubs that appear to be prepared for a Japanese garden; all weepy and prostrate from ice buildup.  I know that it’s frustrating; the landscape is indeed beaten down, but don’t count it out, just yet. 


I have received communication from more than a few about ice damage.  Here’s my take:  First, don’t do anything until all ice has melted off of the affected plants/trees/shrubs.  Secondly, if limbs are obviously broken, remove them with loppers or saw (carefully).  For all other treatment: Wait.  Patience is your friend.  Many of the ice-related effects on your garden/landscape will straighten themselves out…literally.  I would give them at least a couple of weeks before taking other action.


What are these actions, you ask?  There will be branches that fail to rise on their own power.  It may be necessary to either stake some plants or use guy-wires (or gal-wires, if you prefer).  Other plants, mainly broadleaf evergreens may require fairly severe trimming/pruning.  Some large conifers may also have altered appearances.  These plants may require a bit of decision-making.  You might simply remove an errant branch altogether.  It could be best to trim all-over somewhat, so as to even the plant’s appearance.  You could simply leave it all cattywampus; pass it off as a highly prized and valuable ‘Contorted Specimen’.


David Bates