With spring just around the corner, gardeners and homeowners are looking for answers.
Eric Hill — who, along with his wife, Kari, owns Autumn Hill Nursery in Hickory Flat and Autumn Hill Four Seasons Gift & Garden in Canton — has some expert advice on those gardening concerns.
The two have 22 years in the business, helping their customers make the most in their yards and gardens.
Eric Hill offered some advice on how to handle the recent bad weather and its effects on the yard.
“Many of us have had plants damaged by the single digit temperatures we experienced in January. The questions are how much was damaged, is it permanent, and what do you do about it,” Eric Hill said. “A plant suffering cold damage falls into one of three scenarios. The leaves are damaged, and they will simply drop off and new ones will grow; all or part of certain branches may have been killed; the entire plant met its demise.”
Hill said for many of those questions, the only option is to wait and see.
“Time will tell. We can simply wait until later in the spring and see what branches put out new growth, and then prune out the rest, while removing any shrubs that are completely dead,” he said.
Hill said in the weeks ahead, many gardeners will be working to get their plants back in shape.
“If you want to start getting your yard back in shape in March, but don’t know what to prune, use these two simple tests. Scratch the bark of the branch with your thumbnail or pocket knife. Just below the surface the tissue should be a light green/yellow green. If it is, the branch is still alive. If it is brown, it is dead, and you can work your way down the branch until you see green, then prune out the dead,” Hill said.
A second way to tell if a branch is alive is to bend it, he said. Live branches will be pliable, while dead branches become brittle with time, according to the local gardening expert.
For those with more questions, they can stop by the shop in Hickory Flat at 4256 Earney Road.
February hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit autumnhillnursery.com.