Here’s what to do with plants when freezing rain blankets the garden

Posted on: November 15, 2018 | Written By: Doug Oster | Comments

In my opinion there’s nothing worse than freezing rain. For driving, walking and the garden. When trees, shrubs and other plants are covered with a thick coating of ice, the best thing to do is let them thaw naturally. You’ll do more damage than good trying to free the branches from Mother Nature’s icy grip.

This azalea had a thin layer of ice form on a leaf. As things warmed up the ice slid off the leaf, but then froze on the tip of the leaf. Photos by Doug Oster

This azalea had a thin layer of ice form on a leaf. As things warmed up the ice slid off the leaf, but then froze on the tip of the leaf. Photos by Doug Oster

The same is true for the most part with wet snow. Sometimes I’ll go out and gently shake something that I think is in jeopardy of breaking.

These are the kind of days to cuddle up with seed catalogs and let the ice melt away.

Azalea leaves which are still in fall color are covered in freezing rain.

Azalea leaves which are still in fall color are covered in freezing rain.

Anemone stalks and seed heads are covered in ice from a freezing rain.

Anemone stalks and seed heads are covered in ice from a freezing rain.

Ice forms on the baffle of a bird feeder in the garden.

Ice forms on the baffle of a bird feeder in the garden.

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Doug Oster is manager and editor of Everybody Gardens with a passion for gardening and a love of sharing is experiences with other gardeners. You will also find Doug’s gardening contributions in the Tribune-Review each week. He’s an Emmy Award winning producer, television host and writer. Oster is co-host of The Organic Gardeners Radio show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. Oster’s Outstanding Documentary Emmy was awarded for Gardens of Pennsylvania, a one hour special he conceived and produced for the PBS affiliate WQED. Doug appears every Thursday morning on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today live at 9 a.m. “Gardening is fun, he says, enjoy every day spent outside tending vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.”