WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Less than a week ago, we were shivering when the overnight lows got into the teens, but a quick check with area horticulturists indicates there was only light damage to some sensitive plants.
"I don't think we have done any permanent damage with the cold and hot temperatures we have had," said Al Hight, Director of the New Hanover County Arboretum and Cooperative Extension Service. "We have seen a lot of bronzing, or drying out of some of the evergreens, boxwoods, that kind of things."
That is good news for azalea lovers. With the North Carolina Azalea Festival now only three months away, this is the time of the year when organizers worry if there will be an ample amount of blossoms on the millions of plants, many of which are already showing their buds.
Hight says whatever damage was done was mainly to the leaves and not the buds. Azalea plants, like many other plants in our area, can take short periods of cold weather and the leaves can suffer burn damage, especially things like Crape Myrtles, and ornamental grasses.
While they may look unsightly, Hight urges people to wait until next month to begin pruning away any brown leaves or damaged plants, because pruning now can do more harm than good when it comes to more cold weather this winter.
So around the New Hanover County Arboretum now, workers are tidying things up, doing some work not dealing with plants. Mid January is also a good time for homeowners to take a look at their own landscapes and see what can added to make them more unusual and attractive.
A good thing home gardeners can also be doing now is continue to harvest those cold weather vegetables, and prepare your beds for spring growing foods, like beans and tomatoes. After all, you know spring is getting closer when the seed catalogs start arriving in the mail.
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