Why Are My Evergreens Turning Brown?

Posted by Mike Bowles on Feb 23, 2018 4:14:10 PM

This winter season you may have noticed some broadleaf evergreens getting brown tips on their leaves and maybe even beginning to lose leaves.

Maryland Landscaping

The reason may surprise you
As cold as it’s been this winter the damage to these plants actually started months ago. If you remember the first week in November, there was a hard freeze where temps fell into the teens overnight. Unfortunately, this happened before the plants had a chance to fully go dormant and prepare for winter.

Evidence of this type of damage is most commonly seen in shallow rooted evergreens such as the ones shown in the video above: Laurels, Euonymus and Hollies.  

Continuous cold temps throughout the winter season don’t help the situation either. There is little moisture in frozen soil to help protect roots.

The key is patience
In the spring don't rush to prune branches that may not really be dead, the leaves are discolored but the buds are still alive. That means the branch is still alive too. Once the ground thaws and the shrub can absorb water through its roots, it may recover.

One way to tell if a branch is alive is to gently scratch the bark. If you see a green layer beneath the outer bark, it’s still alive. It may lose its damaged leaves or needles, but it can sprout more later.

Remember – be patient.



Topics: Customer Tips, Winter Damage