Frigid Colorado Temps Wreak Havoc on Landscapes

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The November snowstorm in Colorado was one of the most severe since the Halloween freeze of 1991.  In 1991, Denver saw a dip from a high of 71 degrees on October 27 to a record low of 7 degrees on October 29. In 2014, Denver went from 64 degrees on November 10 to a record low of -13 degrees on November 12, making it the third largest temperature decrease ever recorded in the area. Even more interesting is the fact that all three record-breaking drops have occurred in the last 12 months.

These temperature swings have taken trees off guard, resulting in brown and frozen foliage. Some trees also went winter dormancy at a weakened state while other plants were at the risk of fatal frost damage.

There are several ways homeowners and landscapers can battle harmful frost.

  • Choose plants that are tough, durable, and proven to thrive in colder climates and your particular region.
  • Prevent planting in frost pockets or areas of your garden where cold air flows and pools. Additionally, place any plants that are more tender in the sunniest spots of your garden.
  • Do not apply any nitrogen-rich fertilizers at season’s end because this will make plants softer and more exposed and apt to frost damage.
  • Insulate soil at the base of trees, shrubs, and plants. Bare soil will not hold heat on its own. A thick layer of mulch or other organic matter can be used to trap in heat, protect roots, and prevent freezing.
  • Avoid dry soil. When soil loses all moisture and becomes dry, it releases heat more rapidly. Thirsty trees, shrubs, and plants will then become stressed and are more prone to frost affliction. When conditions turn dry, winter watering can help to protect trees, shrubs, and plants from falling victim to detrimental freezing.

If a plant suffers from frost damage, don’t automatically give up on it! After a thaw, try pruning out damaged growth, applying fertilizer, creating gaps to remove frost pockets, and re-firming ground soil around plants. If treated properly, some plants can survive and show re-growth come summer.

Is your Colorado landscape looking a little limp after the most recent record-breaking frost? Our team here at Lifescape would love to help bring your landscape back to life and prepare your yard for a beautiful, colorful, and lush spring and summer season. Contact us online or by calling (303) 831-8310.