With the second round of the exceptionally cold weather coming through this month, many are pondering: "Should I be worried about my plants?" Since the value of worry is a well-known commodity, it is probably in your best interest to double-up on your worry. It is a little-known fact, that many plants suffer cold damage due to lack of worry, or at least, under-worry.
Fortunately, there's no truth to that. What level of concern you may have for your plants, in actuality, has no effect on what cold weather may have done, or is doing to your plants. You may have however, some areas of legitimate concern. There are many among us who enjoy testing the boundaries of plant hardiness. There is nothing wrong with that, but this is likely one of those years where damage will occur, but at what level?
If you have been tempted by Indian Hawthorne, or fringe flower (loropetalum); chances are, you will see significant damage. Even plants that are more reliably hardy such as evergreen clematis or Ivory Feathers pampas grass, will likely show signs of winter burn-back. I am already seeing evidence of this as I look around the neighborhoods. There are many other plants that will have minimal freeze damage, but it's much too soon to tell at this point.
As warmer weather returns, whenever that is, broadleaf plants may exhibit signs of some superficial damage. At this point, our temperatures have not been sufficiently severe to suggest damage to those plants would be more than that. Don't be surprised if this is the year when you will need to do some dead-wooding on your crape myrtle's. It is not at all unusual for tip damage to occur. You may elect to not remove it. That is okay as well, providing that freeze-back is not severe. So what should you be doing now? Really, nothing. Simply wait for warmer temperatures. I'll be sure to let you know what you need to be mindful of as the time draws near.