PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Unusually cold temperatures took a toll on our plants.
“We are not sure if we have lost them yet, but blue atlas cedar, lots of questions about ivy and lots of questions about boxwood and even rhododendron,” said Post-Gazette gardening expert Doug Oster. “And rhododendrons are the toughest of all the ones we talked about.”
Oster suspects he lost several rhododendrons at his home.
Although a plant may look helpless, Oster says a few green leaves could mean it’s still salvageable. It might just mean that it’s still not warm enough for new spring growth if it looks brown.
“Boxwood, you know, when those start to green up, we are just going to give them a haircut,” Oster said. “And like I said, in two weeks – and you still see brown all the way down, that has to come off.”
However, if you take ivy for instance, little, shiny leaves indicating new growth means put the shears down.
“Anything that is just about ready to bloom, if you start trimming it, you are going to lose those flowers,” said Oster.
One of the biggest reasons gardeners are losing plants, is we buy things that aren’t supposed to grow here.
“That’s an opportunity for us as gardeners to try something else, something new,” Oster said. “It’s actually a really good lesson for us that we really need to stick with the plants that are assigned to our planting zone – our zone.”
If you feel like you have to do something though, you can always add fertilizer.
“Throw a little bit of fertilizer down there, sit it out, wait, wait ‘til things warm up into the middle of May, maybe even third week of May and see if you get any new growth off there,” he said.
And don’t lose faith in your green thumb.
“Part of gardening is plants die,” Oster says. “And once you accept that, it makes gardening so much easier. It was nothing that we did. It was mother nature and there’s nothing we can – we can’t control that.”