Maryland springs are unpredictable. One day you’ll be enjoying a sunny afternoon out on your patio. The next week you’re bundled back up in a winter coat and avoiding the outdoors. While the fluctuating temperatures don’t do much more than simply annoy you, they can wreak havoc on the garden. If you wake up one morning to find plants withered and brown from a spring frost, follow these important two steps to help repair the damage.
1. Wait to prune the dead leaves
Many gardeners’ first reaction after a spring frost is to remove the unsightly leaves. While it’s true that the brown, dropping leaves are in fact dead, you’ll want to wait before doing any pruning. It’s possible that the roots and stems are entirely unaffected, and it’s important to protect the healthy part of your plant in case of more cold weather. Trimming away the dead material exposes buds, which could cause the remaining parts of your plants to die as well.
2. Continue to water your plant
You can’t save the dying parts of your plants, but you can keep the unaffected areas healthy by continuing to water the soil. Damp soil retains heat better than dry dirt. By keeping the soil moist, you are protecting plants from freezing again, too.
Spring weather is full of ups and downs and you can’t always predict when frosts are going to attack your garden. After a frost, use the dead foliage to protect the healthy parts of your plants and to keep your garden growing into summer.