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Monday, December 16, 2013

Oleander Shows Signs of Winter Dieback

            Reports from the weather station at the UNCE Orchard in North Las Vegas put the low temperatures on December 6 and 10 at 20F with daytime highs around the same as the inside of a refrigerator. I am sure this caused some damage to plants in that area. I posted the weather report on my blog for those interested.

Q. I believe I messed up with my one year old oleanders. I covered them with old cotton bed sheets and then plastic bags thinking it would protect them. When I uncovered them, the sheets were frozen with what I assume was condensation caused by the plastic bags. I’m hoping they survive as much of the lower foliage is still green and soft. What is my next option?
Freeze damage to oleander in north las vegas

Freeze damage to hedged oleander and new spring growth

A. I don’t think you made a mistake. They just froze, that’s all. 9 times out of 10 they will come back in the spring. In fact the freezing bed sheet gave the oleander a few extra degrees of warmth.
            Wait until spring and new growth before making any decisions. It is possible the oleander just got some leaf and the stem death with some of the stems still alive. You will not know until it starts growing again but I don’t think you lost them.
            The degree of damage to a plant will depend on the plant itself, its variety and how it was cared for, weather prior to the freeze, landscape microclimate, the minimum temperature reached and the duration of that temperature. It can be really difficult to predict the degree of damage done for quite some time.
            There may still be some cold coming later in the winter. Sometimes freezing temperatures in February, when plants are preparing for spring, can be much worse than the same temperatures in December or January.
            Don’t prune them back just yet. Be patient and see what spring brings.

1 comment:

  1. For what it is worth, regarding condensation and plastic bags - I was backpacking and in the morning, the interior walls of my tent were wet (as happens). So, one night, I took a garbage bag I had along and put it over the foot end of my sleeping bag, so I didn't have to worry about hitting the wall with my feet. When I woke up - the inside of that garbage bag was all wet. Makes sense - but it was a funny lesson. I don't know if the condensation would be bad for your plant (isn't that what citrus growers encourage during a freeze - a layer of ice to insulate the orange) - but it totally does happen.