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Colorado freeze and landscape damage: What you can do now

In this article from the Denver Post, Dave Paricio tells readers what they can do to help their plants as the temperatures fall. 

Published: Nov. 17, 2014

By Susan Clotfelter 

Some description

Gardeners and homeowners wondering what the deep freeze of 2014 will do to their landscapes had horticultural listservs buzzing last week.

"I think only time will tell on the extent of damage we'll see," said Colorado State University Extension horticulture agent Alison O'Connor, who's based in Fort Collins. Like many, she had roses still blooming as the first flakes fell and the mercury tumbled.

The closest weather-event comparison experts could make was to the Halloween freeze of 1991, which the following year, "proved to be fatal to many shrubs and trees, particularly Siberian elms," O'Connor wrote on CSU's CO-horts blog.

The shock of 14-below temperatures a few days after balmy 70-degree afternoons can be tough not just on humans, but on valuable, expensive-to-replace trees and shrubs, especially if they were newly planted or went into the prolonged cold days without adequate water.

Dave Paricio, a certified arborist with the Davey Tree Experts' east Denver office, was also cutting the last of his own roses as temperatures began to fall Nov. 9.

"We will see some injury, but nothing's going to be readily apparent until early to mid-spring," he said. But spring and summer's abundant moisture will help.

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