Dead rosemary?

carrie_2010March 25, 2010

We had A LOT of snow this past winter and I have rosemary in one of my outdoor flowerbeds.It now looks dead. It has survived every other winter, but I think the snow might have done it in. Is there anything I can do to bring it back?

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If it's dead, nothing short of a miracle will bring it back. Take a cutting from it - scrape back the outside and if you see any green in the stem, it's still alive. Otherwise - into the compost with it.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:41AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Dead is dead. But wait and give the plant a chance. Sometimes there is still life that isn't yet noticed. It will become clear soon enough if there is any life or not but give it a chance before composting it.

If it is alive, trim out the dead parts after learning what parts are alive.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:33AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Snow will have little or nothing to do with the death of any plant, unless it crushes it to smithereens. As a matter of fact, snow is a wonderful insulator. It is the COLD temperatures that will cause the problems.

If you've had long periods of extremely cold temperatures, your rosemary plants may not have been able to tolerate the winter. I agree that you should be patient before yanking anything from your garden.

It may be that all you need to do is cut your plant all the way to the ground and let it rejuvenate. Rosemary is one of the many plants that respond beautifully to rejuvenation pruning. Cutting it all the way back will result in a far, far better plant than simply cutting out the dead parts (unless, of course, there are only a few dead branches here and there).

In your location, rejuvenation pruning could be done within a few weeks. You certainly don't want to wait too long. Don't be afraid to make that cut. I do it to rosemary all the time. even if they haven't been damaged by the cold. I live the taste of the herb from juvenile wood rather than the mature wood.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:55AM
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opal52(z7b GA)

We had a couple of rounds with snow and ice plus weeks of below freezing temps (we are not used to that!). Some of our rosemary bushes were damaged, mostly I believe by the days of sustained cold winds we experienced. I cut back our rosemary bushes with damage already and they are thankfully recovering now. I would try pruning before giving up.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Thank you for this post! I came here looking for information about my rosemary plant/shrub. I planted it as a 4" pot in May 2006, today it is about 6 feet wide all around and about 5 feet tall, large parts of it died during the winter and I went to prune out the dead parts and discovered that the main trunk was multi-stemmed and about 4" in diameter. I just started cutting and pruned it pretty severely to about 3/4's its size. I discovered many many rooted branches where they touched the ground, so i have plenty to plant in other locations around the yard. But because it was such a huge plant I have been worried that I killed it by my aggressive pruning. Thanks to you, I will rest better knowing that it will probably come back bigger and better than ever.
This is such a wonderful forum, I really should participate more often.
Again thank you for the information.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 7:39AM
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