Hosta freeze vulnerability- urgent

jim_on_lookout_mtn(7A,LookoutMtnAL)April 6, 2007

We are expecting a hard freeze (mid 20s) for the next several there anything I can do to save my hostas, a collection of several dozen and all up 3 - 10 inches.....thnx, Jim

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hostared(Z5, IL)

Sorry to hear your zone is getting the same weather we in the Midwest have been having this week. And those farther north with the snow...well what can I say.

My eyes were not up that tall but some were at 5 inches. We just took compost and buried them. Some that were taller I inverted large containers over them. Everything seems to be OK but some of my perennials have not faired that well. My bleeding hearts are frozen and splanned on the ground. Some of my flowering trees look like they are curled. Some sedum look frozen etc.... but this is mother nature. We are hoping for temps in the 40's next week but the lows and wind chills is havoc on the plants.
Maybe someone will have other ideas.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Welcome Jim! I thought Lookout mt. was in Tenn. I've been there. Seriously,though,you can do what I'm doing,(see NC circus Side show). I have gathered evry nursery pot,bucket,cardboard box I can find,to cover them up. Even mulch,or leaves if they are not too tall. And pray a lot! Phil

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Like Jim we are getting hit hard with cold. My hostas are also way out of the ground and some of them are already a foot in diameter. I heard that there is a cover made for freezes at Lowes. Anybody know anything about that? Also, I'm hearing to water them and then cover them. Is that true? After several weeks hanging out at the pool this cold weather is for the birds!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hostared(Z5, IL)

There are frost blankets that you can use only for light frost or cold snaps. If you are getting 20's and damaging wind which bring the temps down even more...praying helps but do protect your plants with a cover. pots, laundry baskets (without holes) boxes anything and use the frost blankets under them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

what's wrong with using plastic sheeting?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

It holds the cold and if it touches foliage, it's the kiss of "death".

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just use old towels, sheets, and knit fabric. I bought about 20 yards of closeout fabric, kinda like t-shirt fabric only fuzzier, for $1 per yard.

Covering them with these items has always worked for me. I've also used those waxed ice buckets with a brick on top for the smaller guys.

I cut up the fabric, and on some areas just For some of the bigger ones, I had to wrap pieces around them, like I did with the towels.

All in all, my neighbors probably thought I was

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I covered mine with burlap last night but the wind was whipping up so hard that the covers were blown off exposing the hostas. They are frozen and look pretty bad. We're expecting 2 more nights of mid-20s so I think mine are in trouble. Any thoughts on what to do next? Should I cut them back to the ground and wait to see if they'll come back up once the weather warms?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 2:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My poor hostas froze lastnight. What should I do now...cut them back?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
humminjill(z5 MO)

Mine froze last night, too! I have them in many areas around my house & yard. Any info on what to do now would be much appreciated!
Thnx -

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like many of us are in the same pickle. I covered all my hostas and hydrangeas but they look really bad. Forecast tonight is for the teens........never out of low 40s today. Roses, Iris, Lillies, daylillies......all showing damage. I,too, am interested in any recovery suggestions.

And yes, THE Lookout Mountain is in Chattanooga but the Lookout Mountain range continues south. I am near Mentone and Fort Payne AL (next to Little River Canyon) on an East facing brow, looking about 15 miles to GA line.

Good luck to y'all.........Jim

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lynnem(5 Ohio)


2 years ago, I had two albo marginettas that were severely frost damaged.. I left one alone, and cut the other back to the ground. The cut one did send up a new flush of leaves, it took a few weeks, and was smaller than the other one, but it looked better...

I can't believe this cold spell is hitting us, much less those so much further south!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is the only thing I can find on the net...........

Freeze & Thaw: Hosta plants are sometimes prone to late frost damage in the spring once the leaves have emerged past the protective outer scales of the dormant bud. The more emerged or unfurled the leaves the more sensitive the leaves are to temperatures below 32° F. Some gardeners protect the earlier emerging varieties during threats of frost with a nighttime blanket of foam insulation, burlap, inverted pots and bushel baskets, or even some of the commercially available material. If hosta plants are hit with late frosts it is best to cut off and discard the damaged leaf tissue so it does not inhibit the new leaves emerging.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hammered on the Cumberland Plateau!!!!
Everything gone, despite sheets, buckets, etc. Got to 18 degrees last night.
Hostas are just water, (3 different beds, and go all the way up a large driveway) as are oriental lillies,a varied assortment of oriental maple trees, peonies, bleeding heart, autumn splender, etc, etc, etc... Last weekend everything was completely bloomed and as beautiful as I have ever seen. It is utterly depressing. Don't know what to do with all the lillies??? Cut them back??
I do believe you do this with hostas, but what about the other bulbs?? I feel for all that lost all of their hard work, despite prayers, and sheeting.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yep, me too....lilies and lots of them, hydrangeas, bleeding hearts, daylilies, hostas...... I am just sick, I walk around the yard and want to cry. I would be curious too about what to do with the lilies. I'm hoping the hostas send up some new growth. I am so sad, as with every spring you go into it with such high hopes and expectations!! Rats!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Most of your freeze damaged plants' secondary buds will take over. Remove totally collapsed foliage for appearance and to prevent rotting tissue. They'll be fine eventually, you didn't have to pray. Believe it or not.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just found the following online. Gads. This is so depressing!!

What I hear folks saying is clip everything back and hope for the best!!

Almost all losses occur during the winter or very early spring, and the cause is almost always crown rot. Spring is the worst time for us...

Ah, the late freezes. If a hosta freezes after the leaves start to unfurl, there is an excellent chance crown rot will set in. At the very least, the leaves will turn to mush and it will be weeks, maybe a month, or even more before it looks good again. If a late heavy frost or freeze is forecast, we have to heat the cold frames and recover the plants in the field. Our plants have to look good early in the season, so we have to try to avoid even minor leaf damage....You may not have to worry so much about frost, because the plants will recover, but it might take a while. If a freeze is forecast when the hostas have even partially open leaves, you should protect the plants.

A hard freeze often leads to crown rot, especially in blue varieties, and especially if the soil is wet. In a large plant, the rot may only affect part of the crown and the rotten part can be cut away. In smaller plants, it is usually fatal. If the leaves are still furled in a tight, pointed spear, hard to the touch, they can probably withstand a hard freeze with no damage, but if they have started to open only slightly, don't take a chance.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 7:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I got the freeze as well, looks like my yard is covered in wilted lettuce:(
we have snow (!!) in the forcast for tomorrow, and it is raining right now at this point. I guess I need to go out and get rid of all the wilted leaves then, I had pulled off a few, but didn't make too much of a effort as I had not even thought of crown rot, the good news is my blues all had just barely came up so I am hoping they will be okay, makes me so mad, all those that looked so wonderful look awful now, I had just planted a varigated hydrangea and it looks very bad, thinking I might have lost it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 7:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd wait to pull the leaves off if the ground is really soaked. You don't want to lift the crown.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 7:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
highjack(z6 KY)

I agree with cutting the mushed foliage back but I am not going to do it until closer to my frost free date. I don't want to encourage the dormant eyes to pop yet and need the mush to help mulch the plant. We are to get rain tomorrow and snow the next day so additional warming isn't going to take place for another week around here. Then if the long range forecast looks more typical, I will begin the clean up.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 6:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can anyone describe the best way to cut the leaves and how far down one should go? Or, post a picture of yours once they've been done.

I've never had to do it before and I hate to hurt them any more!

Is it just the "wilted" part? If only part of the leaf is wilted, is it better to cut the rot and leave the rest? Or, just cut it back totally? What degree of "wilt" calls for cutting? (I fear the answer is "any" but am prepared for that.)

Thanks (I am so, so very sad about my hostas!)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 7:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Once it warms up, it will be very apparent to you which
leaves need to go. I agree with Highjack, let them be for a little while, especially if rain is forecasted. Your plants aren't gonna crown rot in a week. Plus, the leaves affected will be easier to remove then.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Andi - these are not African Violets...they are hosta..don't panic! LOL

Even if you didn't take the leaves off and stomped on them daily...they would more than likely do just fine!

Seriously...I have left hosta in black trash bags that got full of rain for a month and they were fine. I wouldn't recommend it...LOL...but my point is not to be so devastated.

They will be okay! Honest! :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 11:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whew. Well, I went out already (impatient?) and cut off the clearly dead leaves and did a lot of talking to them/apologizing. Most looked better than I thought--maybe 1/3 gone, but still showing new, untouched growth. My blues are still coming up. :-)

Sadly, my new Japanese maple got it (just a baby...and we forgot to bring it in!!!!) as did a few hibiscus.

Anyone know the protocol? Cut off the leaves or trim back the limbs. Sigh.

Thanks, all!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 3:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Andi,
You will find lot's of good info in the Maples forum in the "Wholesale slaughter" section on what to do with your maple.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
highjack(z6 KY)

You can snip the leaves off but make sure you do it in the middle of the petiole, NOT close to the branch. That is the area where the dormant buds will pop out and you could damage the dormant buds.

Don't do any trimming on the branches until you see they are dead. You will be able to tell the dead from the live because the dead will be a tannish color and the live will be reddish in color.

All of mine are in the same condition and many of mine are too big to try to trim. As are almost everything else in the garden - whadda spring!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 6:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. I'm afraid of what I might find in
"wholesale slaughter."

Oh well..trying to think "cycle of life" and all that!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 11:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

I definitely second what highjack is saying regarding trimming the JM. I'm just going to wait until I can see what is really dead or alive (on all 8...yikes). Patience, Andi! Patience! :) It's going to be okay! :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 12:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Had to bump this because it seems so relevant now. Some of my hostas are already open and we are forecast many inches of snow :-( . . . heavy sigh. . .

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes very relevant gottagarden! We're getting ready for 2 nights in the low 20's...uggh. I just hope I have enough pots to cover everything. Not fair it was all looking so nice after the weeks of 70's... :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
First time to be able to grow Hostas, need beginners help
We moved to a new home recently and I have two large...
Beth9116 zone 8a TX
Hosta Ruffled 2014
The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds...
ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida
Is this normal for Guacamole?
This is a closeup photo of my Guacamole last year....
newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada
mulch around hostas. leaves, etc.
I have always read that you need to clean up the hostas...
Last year I got all excited over finding some Hosta...
Pieter zone 7/8 B.C.
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™