You would think that a warm winter would mean no damage to your plants…but that would be wrong! We had several periods this winter where it was 40 to 50 degrees for several days and then turned brutally cold. This extreme fluctuation in temperature is very damaging to many New Hampshire plants because they think it is spring so they leaf out – only to suffer freeze damage when it got cold.
Hydrangea – like the one pictured here – plus many roses and even trees suffer from this type of injury. The buds that were set swelled and were damaged this winter as well.
How to fix it: In early April, prune dead tissue out and fertilize with a mild fertilizer. On the hydrangea, I am going down to the last viable bud on a damaged stem and pruning just above the bud. This is true with pruning out winter dieback from roses and other woody-stemmed perennials.
Trees that were damaged in the historic Halloween Snowstorm of 2011 should have clean cuts made below the damaged area. Do NOT use wound dressing as that would cause further damage.