• 54°

Dealing with the latest big chill in Lincoln County

When temperatures take a nose dive and ice and snow move into Lincoln County, many gardeners may worry that their trees and shrubs are taking a beating. No need for doom and gloom yet — most hardy landscape and orchard plants are able to cope with our winters, including the recent polar vortex.

Many factors influence plant injury, including plant species, degree of plant dormancy and overall plant health. How low the temperature goes, how long it stays there and how well acclimated plants are at the time are additional factors.

While it is too soon to know how much damage to expect, the good news is that plants were fully dormant prior to this episode. The severe cold, coupled with ice and snow may cause some dieback of twigs and winter burn on ornamentals, especially evergreens. Broad-leaved evergreens are the most susceptible. Injury appears as brown leaf margins or needle tips at the onset of warm weather.

There will be more winter to endure before we know the status of our landscape plants. Nobody can control the weather, so stay safe and warm and dream of spring.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.