How to Handle Freeze Damage on Trees

This was an incredibly cold week in Texas with temperatures dropping to historic lows. Especially here in the Houston area, temperatures stayed below freezing for extended periods of time reaching as low as 9° F depending on the area of town you’re from. With how sudden and unprecedented this winter storm was, many homeowners were unable to prepare their trees adequately for the weather and are now having to deal with freeze damage on their trees and plants.

Recovery for Citrus & Palms after Freeze

Over the next few months, many citrus trees (including lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange trees) and a whole host of palm trees will require special attention and care to ensure survival and recovery. Deep freezing weather can change the physiological properties of surviving palms, plants, and citrus trees so plant owners must act quickly. Actions taken during this vital recovery period immediately following a hard freeze will make the biggest difference for the affected palms, plants, and citrus trees and their chances of survival.

Give your trees the best fighting chance against freeze damage with the help of your Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA). With years of arboriculture experience and tree care expertise, Eric Putnam BCMA will work with you to ensure every step is taken to enhance the survivability of your valuable palms, plants, and citrus trees. Tree recovery takes time but we’ll help make sure it goes right.

A Texas palm tree affected by freeze damage

Tips for Dealing with Freeze Damage to Trees

Here are a few very valuable and important steps you can take to ensure the survival of your trees after a hard freeze.

For citrus trees:

  • DO NOT TRIM or have anybody trim your citrus trees. Trimming your citrus tree at this point can further enhance the physiological injuries.
  • Your citrus may lose all of its leaves, and that will be okay.
  • DO keep plenty of water throughout the summer.
  • DO NOT FERTILIZE your citrus during the recovery period. It can cause unnecessary growth that will put the tree into further stress.
  • DO use biostimulants as they do not fertilize your tree, but will feed the microbes that bring your citrus trees back to health.

For palm trees:

  • DO NOT ALLOW ANYBODY to PRUNE YOUR PALMS without first confirming they have proper equipment sterilization protocol in place. They MUST be able to exhibit this in front of you. There are some important and deadly palm diseases that are readily spread throughout our community due to contaminated equipment and material.
  • DO NOT ALLOW ANYBODY to DEBOOT your palms. Debooting causes extreme water loss and will speed up the decline or death of your palm after this weather event.
  • CUT ONLY THE DEAD PALM FRONDS even if it means that you keep pruning the palm. If you cut green fronds, you will stress and starve the palm possibly killing it.
  • DO NOT FERTILIZE your palms during the recovery period. This will cause a spike in unnecessary and harmful growth to your palms.
  • DO use biostimulants as they do not fertilize your tree, but will feed the microbes that bring your palms back to health.

Contact Eric Putnam, BCMA Today

If you think your trees and plants have been damaged by the deep freeze, don’t wait. Schedule your arborist consultation as soon as possible. The sooner our Board Certified Master Arborist can examine the freeze damage on your trees, the sooner we can get your trees started on a recovery plan to ensure survivability.

Click here to book your appointment.