Temperatures in Arch City were above 70 yesterday, making it a delightful day to get out into the yard and garden and enjoy a sunny spring day. Because it is early, I spent most of my time raking the lawn and getting up the leaves and twigs. The last frost date in St. Louis is April 13 and the weather forecasters are predicting cold temperatures throughout the coming week. Given the miserable winter we had, I am not taking any chances and have kept a covering of leaves around the azaleas, rhododendrons, roses and tender perennials.
About a month ago or so ago, I read an item in the garden section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about leaf scorch on rhododendrons caused by frostbite or extreme winds. At the time, it did not appear that any of my rhodos were affected by that but we then had warming and bitter freezing. And yes, winter has left its mark on two of my P.J.M rhododendrons. On the photo on the left you can see the scorching on the leaves. This plant is the least protected from the elements, sitting on the edge of the eaves where it is more exposed to the winds, rain and ice. The plant on the far right is the most sheltered, by its neighboring shrubs and the eaves. It is fine.
I was so busy in the yard that I did not call my local gardening center. Scanning the Internet, about the only advice I have come across is to be patient and not cause any further stress on the plant, such as pruning. There are buds here as you can see but I wonder what the impact will be on the plant a year later.
Did you know rhodendrons have been around for 50 million years? Neither did I. These shrubs have been growing very nicely in their current location, so I have faith these two shrubs will be hardy enough to overcome this.
How did the winter affect your plants?