Restoring Frostbitten Shrubs

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With many cedars are flopped over and some suffocated by the thick ice and heavy snow that ravaged them over the winter.
The results of the coldest winter weather in living memory are often visible on your neighbourhood landscapes.  As the weather starts to finally  improve with warmer temperatures and more sunlight, now is a great time to assess your shrubs and begin to plan their rejuvenation.
Reinvigorate shrubs with early spring pruning. Most shrubs look best when you thin out one-third of the oldest, woodiest stems, cutting them back right to the base of the plant. You’ll get fresh new growth, and you’ll keep the shrub from getting leggy and thin at the bottom with a dense crown of twigs at the top.
Some shrubs can tolerate even more pruning. A technique called “coppicing” works well for shrubs with colorful, attractive stems, like willows and red-twig dogwoods. This involves cutting the whole plant back to just a few inches high. It seems drastic, but it will encourage the plant to put out bright new stems, and by midsummer, you’ll have a nice, thick, slightly-shorter shrub in your garden.
Another group of shrubs, which includes Hydrangea arborescens (like the common, much-loved ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea), smokebush (Cotinus coggygria), and bluebeard (Caryopteris hybrids), benefits from being pruned back to the base, too. These shrubs often have uneven winter-kill and pruning them back to the ground will leave you with a full, even shrub for the summer. As a bonus, smokebush will produce bigger, showier leaves on new growth if the stems are cut back in early spring.
Adding mineral rich organic top soil will also give your plant a much needed boost.  Remember to monitor the pH levels of your soil.  Cedars prefer a soil pH of 6 to 6.5, but will grow well in soils up to 7.5. Soils that are too acidic can result in nutrient deficiency symptoms (browning or yellowing of foliage) and eventual tree decline. Make sure you have good soil with proper drainage as good drainage is essential for cedars. Cedars like lots of water but do not like to sit in it. We advise you amend the existing soil with organic material. Use 2/3 native soil (soil from the planting hole) and 1/3 new organic material. If the soil does not drain well (i.e. clay or hard packed) you may want to raise the planting bed/mound slightly. 
The little bit of extra time and energy you put in the early parts of spring will help your shrubs flourish early and provide a healthier, prettier and more prominant shrub as the warmer weather continues.  Ultimately our goal is to help you obtain the healthy, beautiful landscape that you desire and deserve.  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding your yard.  We look fporward to helping you.


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