Did the frost kill my oleanders?

jamiecrouseDecember 14, 2009

My oleanders turned a light green, with crunchy leaves after our last frost. Do you think they're done for, or if I cut them back, will they re-emerge in the Spring? I planted them last Spring, so they were relatively new.

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sarakp

I lost my oleander two years ago to a freeze (am in Dallas). I cut it back to the crown in the spring and it grew back better than ever over the course of the summer. My neighbor cuts hers back every other year to keep it under control.

I'll bet yours will be just fine too.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 2:26PM
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rick_mcdaniel(Lewisville, TX)

Depends on the variety. Some are not cold hardy, while others will come back in spring.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 4:23PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

There are a multitude of gorgeous oleander varieties. I had no idea how many. One could make a gardening career of collecting oleanders! See link below.

As Rick says some are more cold tolerant than others. I have seen some, mostly the hardy red variety, that were not damaged by a cold snap and others whose foliage looked bad after a freeze. But probably most will recover from the roots.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oleander varieties ...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 6:19PM
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jamiecrouse

They are Hardy Red, so I thought they would have survived better.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 7:31PM
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bjb817

Jamie-

I totally feel your pain. We have 5 mature ones that must be at least 10 years old and a "Hardy Red" that's a few years old. Ours look awful too after the freeze. In past years they'd get nipped a little, but never like this.

We also have 6 Little John Bottlebrushes that I'm worried about too.

Did these plants take it harder then normal because the freeze was so hard AND so sudden, not having adequate time to acclimate to colder weather?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 9:55PM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

This hard freeze this early will cause that kind of damage. I am seeing it here around Canyon Lake. I hit right at 15 degrees with the freeze on the 3rd. Hardy Red Hardy White Hardy Pink are cold hardy in that order. Red hardiest Pink least cold hardy. Your will be fine but you want to cut back the damage but wait till the full extent of the damage shows.
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 10:00PM
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jolanaweb

Jamie, when my hardy reds were younger, they would all get nipped but every year less and less. this year eventhough it was the hardest freeze we've had in years, just a few tips are nipped.
The problem we had, a lot of plants had tender new growth on them because of the warm temps and all of the rain.
That's what affected all of the bottle brushes and sagos here
The first hard freeze didn't get some things but the second lasted all night here and that is what I think did it.
I don't know if I cut my oleanders back at the wrong time in the past but I always wait till Spring.
Good luck

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 8:56AM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

I meant to say Dec. 5th I went to 15 degrees......and yes I concur that the sudden and early in the season drop to this cold is why we will see more than usual damage. Also newer plants of all kinds take more damage than older ones...Its always a good idea to not feed too heavy with your October (fall feeding because of this) using organic ferts or compost will result in less damage because growth is not forced on the plants....

Bjb - Little John probably will make it but depending on how cold you got for how long it probably was getting close to its tolerance level. I don't even try them here because in the last decade I have been to single digits twice already and that will pretty much do them in.. low teens is where they may or may not make it..,probably depends on when in the season and how old they are and as always if they had enough moisture to help keep the dessication down while they were below freezing.
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 9:58AM
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bjb817

Well, sounds like my suspicions on the frost were right...

At this point, I'm going to leave the damaged plants be until spring. I'm confident that the Oleanders will come back, but the Little John's I think might be toast. I guess I should've covered them. :^(

Same with my Sago Palms. The don't look so great either...

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 8:27PM
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hyperion8b(z8b TX)

Hitexplanter I'm surprised you got down to 15 at Canyon Lake!
I had 24 here in Wimberley on the 5th, and that's the coldest so far this winter. A friend toward Austin always gets colder than me, because of being in near a creek, and he got down to 22 that night.
BTW my hardy red oleanders have been here for years - maybe 20 - and they never get damaged by cold. I see pink and white ones scorched almost every winter though. Sometimes the stems are ok in the spring, sometimes not if they didn't mature before frost.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 8:18PM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

I have to use Blanco forecasts to even come close to my temps. Yes I am in a cold spot along a creek too.. Most the time I am colder than any C.L. places... Most of these are higher and warmer than my location. I do see damage on Hardy Reds this year in my subdivision and they are a little higher. They are only a year or two old as well. They will be fine but they do get damaged leaves when you get a early hard freeze like this.
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:58AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

It's interesting how much lower temps can go when you live in a low spot. I've noticed that UP the street just a block or two away my neighbors cannas and banana trees may not be frost bitten on certain occasions while mine will be. The upside of that is it's probably a tad cooler in the summer :-)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:35AM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

Roselee: Unfortunately the difference between 102 and 97 doesn't make me feel much better :) where as my range of plants that survive are truly limited by the difference in those lows.... Not really complaining as much as trying hard after 10 years of living here of accepting the reality of this micro-climate. I freeze by Halloween some years. Usually have frost by Halloween. Last year was the mildest thus far and it still was low 20's a few times. Teens are normal and single digits have happened twice.
Micro-climates are amazing. Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:47PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

My five oleanders are all heavily frost damaged, so I will have to prune really hard. Will they bloom this spring after such a pruning?
molly

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:14AM
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calverttx

I have 4 petite oleanders that have some green in the bottom stem. The rest appears to be gone. I have no idea how to prune them back. I also have 3 regular oleanders that have green on them and do not seem to be as badly damaged except the white one. Does anyone have specific instructions of where and when to prune. Thanks to all of you, you are always a great help. Isn't it wonderful to have so many very smart friends.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 11:12AM
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honeybunny2(Z9TX)

I trimed my petite oleanders, three times, once right after the freeze, then cut them again down to the green stem. Last weekend, I noticed that they were getting some new green growth, so I cut them down to where I could see the new growth. I cut mine right above the last leave that was forming. This may not be correct Jim Potts, is the guy that would know how to trim oleanders. Where are you Jim?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:04AM
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bjb817

Well, several months later and my pink Oleanders are bare twigs. The "Hardy" Red held it's leaves, granted they're all brown.

At this point, would my best bet be to cut everything back to the ground and start from scratch? I know these things come back with a vengeance when you cut them back, but I've never cut them back THAT hard.

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:59PM
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jolanaweb

Hi, I don't remember what the pink one dies back. I usually don't prune it til I see coming back from the roots and the new shoots are a few inches tall and I cut the dead shoots to the ground
My hardy red is planted about 10' from the pink and it held all of it's green leaves this year. It is almost 5yo now

I am not pruning any til I am fairly sure we are not getting another hard freeze

The good thing is they will come back like gangbusters and should bloom, mine always do

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:11PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

I know my oleanders will come back this spring, but I was afraid I would lose the season's bloom after I cut them back....glad I won't!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:05PM
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rbrandt2(7B-8A TX)

I lost 2 of 4 hardy pinks in Garland this winter. I just trimmed everything back to the ground. If I'm lucky, they'll come back from the roots.

Soil isn't that well drained. Any suggestions about amount of water or amount/kind of fertilizer to use to give them the best chance of recovery?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 9:10PM
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jamiecrouse

Well I am starting to see some tiny new sprouts on a few of my oleanders. There may be a couple that didn't make. I'm hoping they grow fast, as they look really pitiful as bare stumps right now.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 7:40PM
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bjb817

Well, I bit the bullet and cut all my Oleanders back to the ground. We have a great view of the neighbor's house behind us now. :^(

Hopefully some new sprouts will appear soon or I'll get really worried!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:37PM
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barbbuhler46_yahoo_com

The leaves are brown on most branches but the stems are green and healthy. should I cut them back or will new leaves form on the existing stems and branches?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:56AM
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universalsys1_sbcglobal_net

We live in el Paso, TX. We got hit by a late deep freeze +3 for three days. Everything had green leaves and new shoots already coming up and this killed everything. So the question is...how to prune, how deep. Nothing is showing green except the bark.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:26PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I cut a neighbor's (with permission) that had been raggy and torn up from hard winters over the years to 12" above the soil line. They hadn't done more than a few, pathetic flowers in years when I did it. The following spring WOW! They looked so much better. They bloomed like crazy and the leaves were pretty again. I'd cut them short, they grow fast with established roots. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:22PM
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angel_drewett_yahoo_com

Ok gang, I had newly planted (spring last year) dwarf oleanders along my fence. We had the awful freeze/ice etc. in February. I have trimmed them to the ground, and mulched. When will I see new growth? How long do you think I need to wait to see if they made it, or replace? I am a newby with ALL plants...but I do seem to have a green thumb...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 10:39AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

scratch the bark and see if they are still green. I'd be thinking you'd get growth by may at the latest

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 4:48PM
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fool4flowers(8)

Just starting to see new sprouts at the base of mine so I'll cut back the rest and let it regrow.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:03AM
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ocgf(Z8)

Do not pull them out even if you think they didn't make it. I've had plants coming back by the end of summer.

Omar

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:51AM
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honeybunny2(Z9TX)

I read that you should never cut back more than 1/3 the plant. I cut about 1/2 right before the Feb freeze. Two weeks ago I put dried molasses and alfa meal on them, and they started blooming with all kinda of new growth in about 7 days. I think they will be in full bloom with I go back. I should be going back around April 26th. If you have superthrive, you might want to put some on the plants to help them along. Barbra

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 9:30PM
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