(615) 876-1014. Delivery to greater Nashville, TN only.

Half Measures

  • Posted on
  • 2
Half Measures

It appears that doing something halfway could indeed be the correct action…


I know you’re over it.  You’re tired of looking at dead sticks, sticking up out of the ground.  It ain’t right.  It’s not supposed to be that way.  You’ve never seen anything like this before…welcome to the club. I have been working in the horticulture industry all my life.  I have seen numerous severe freezes over my six-decades long career (it might only be 58 years, depending on how you count it).  This event stands truly unique.  That is partly because, there is more to the damage that some plants have received.  Rapidly changing temperatures, 60 degrees in less than 6 hours, combined with the past summer’s drought, did ‘a number’ on many conifers, never before seen.


Hinoki Cypress (all chamaecyparis cultivars) and Japanese False Cedars (cryptomeria cultivars) have seemingly been devastated. It is quite rare to ever see an evergreen conifer ever push out new growth, once the plant has been severely damaged.  Many of these large specimens, all across middle Tennessee were weakened, first by drought, then devastated by the Christmas freeze.  I have no encouraging words, or little hope to share, regarding those.  Since the damage is done, it certainly won’t hurt to wait before taking any action, but don’t get your hopes up.


Broadleaf plants, on the other hand, are beginning to show signs of coming out.  If those plants are showing any signs of new shoots, particularly from the base, they can be cut halfway back, hence the title of this missive.  Strangely, where identically sized plants are growing side by side, some are showing signs of tip growth, while other have yet to push shoots out from the base.  In a hedge-type situation, you should likely consider cutting the whole group down to half their current size.  Some might not need to be cut that drastically, but they will never match, unless you do ‘Half Measures’.


You have gardening questions; submit them here.  We answer those questions, Saturday mornings on, “The At Home Show”. We keep you informed!


David Bates


  1. Tyler Tyler

    Yes, those buds mean they're not dead. Cutting them back halfway is what we would recommend!

  2. Katie D Katie D

    We have some laurels that are completely brown and we were close to removing them but in the past week, we are seeing little bits of green right at the base. Should we cut these back half way and hope for the best?

  3. Tyler Tyler

    We advise waiting, they might re grow from the roots, so keep an eye out at the base of the plant.

  4. Dabney Waters Dabney Waters

    I have a 15 ft elaeagnus screen between my house and my neighbor.
    There is not a leaf left on it: how should I proceed?

Leave a comment
* Your email address will not be published