Cutting back in the winter
Please help me resolve a dispute.
A landscaper planted hibiscus on the right and left of a walkway going up to my inlaws house. The house is for sale, no one lives there. The sprinklers comes on once a week and a lawn mowing crew is there once a week.
We are in zone 8b where by the end of this week we will have experienced 13 freezes so far this year. No one is there to cover and protect the hibiscus or water it properly before and after freezes.
The other day we looked at the hibiscus and of course they were zapped. Probably not dead, even though the temperatures were in the 20s.
We told the lawn crew to cut them back to about 18 inches thinking that it will look better on the walk way for the next 3 months. The plants now look tidy and they could be replaced in the spring if they died because of all the cold.
I have grown many similar hibiscus which died in the winter here. I only have one double red that lasted for years.
Here is the question: Will cutting the hibiscus now actually kill the hibiscus? The landscaper said they should not have been cut. Yes I know that is the common wisdom being an avid gardener (but primarily because branches may look dead but are not. So you want to wait until the spring to see what branches are dead...one source said.)
Again, Will cutting the hibiscus now actually kill the hibiscus?
Thank you for your experienced answer.