Between December 22nd and December 23rd, 2022, middle Tennessee experienced a severe weather change called a flash freeze.  This extreme and rapid temperature drop of approximately 50+ degrees occurred across our area in a matter of hours and many customers are experiencing landscape issues.  The flash freeze did adversely affect many plants; particularly evergreens such as Distylium, Laurels, Nandina and Azaleas, just to name a few.

Why Cold Tolerant Plants Appear Dead

Although the majority of the landscaping you have is tolerant of freezing temperatures, they normally experience physiological changes with the seasonal changes. However, with the recent flash freeze, plants did not have the opportunity to make the physiological changes needed to prevent ice crystals from forming within their cells. If ice crystals form within plant cells, they can puncture the tissue of leaves and stems, causing local areas of damage or even death.  Thin barked trees such as Japanese Maples or Crape Myrtles may also have experienced damage during this time. Black areas of dead bark may be seen as well as splitting of the stems or trunks. Damage may have been noticed soon after the weather change. Keep in mind that the extent may not be fully realized until spring or even later.

We Recommend Against Pruning

Bear Creek Landscapes hope that the majority of damage from the flash freeze will have occurred in the leaves and that come spring, plants will leaf out once again.  If stems are damaged it could take a couple of seasons for them to recover.  Plants can be checked by gently bending their limbs to see if they are brittle or pliable.  Twigs can be scraped to see if any green is present. Newly planted trees and shrubs may be more affected than mature, established plant material.  The recommendation at this time is NOT TO PRUNE. It is best to wait until March or preferably later to trim any plants that appear to have damage.

Continue Watering as Recommended

Please continue to water your plants as you would regularly. If we are expecting a freeze event it will be better to water well prior to the freeze. A solid root ball protects the roots from any air that may enter through the expanding soil pockets. However, a dry root ball allows the soil to expand greatly, allowing the roots to be exposed to lots of cold air.  Once things heat up and dry out you will need to keep an eye on your landscape. Unsure of your watering recommendations? Click Here

Contact Us With Questions

Due to these circumstances Bear Creek Landscapes & Design will not warranty any plant material that appears to have expired due to this natural weather situation. Our office will work with customers on a case-by-case situation. Please call either (931) 840-0030 or (615) 913-7384 or fill out our contact form.