From Cold to Hot to Just Right
Click here if you are having trouble viewing.
Life Lived Outside
The Kerby's Nursery E-Newsletter
February 3, 2022
New Arrivals   |   Spring Events  |   Come Work at Kerby's
From Cold to Hot to Just Right
by Joey Bokor

High of 84 today, low below freezing this past Sunday, and back to average next week. It's like Florida can't make up its mind, which is actually pretty typical of our weather at this time of the year. Driving around town, I see quite a bit of frost and freeze damage, although it didn't get quite as cold as it could have. The seriously cold air stayed just north of us, and my mango tree is extremely grateful (even if it suffered minor damage).

If you do have some plants that were damaged in the cold, there are a couple of things to do, but it all comes down to patience. You know by now that gardening is an activity that gives you lots of opportunities to be patient. Waiting for the first butterflies to arrive, anticipating a first fruit harvest, watching as veggies slowly grow and mature to harvest. Nothing happens instantly, and it will be the same with plants damaged in the cold. The good news is that most of your plants will recover, especially since we didn't have a hard freeze, but I know that it is tough to look at brown leaves and dead branches. Follow our tips below to bring your plants back to their former glory.

1. Have Patience - Wait to prune. I know this is the hardest part. With warm weather back in town, we know you want to get out and prune away. However, if we get cold again, those damaged portions will provide a little insulation for the parts of the plant that survived. So, wait. Usually by late February, you'll be free to prune away.

2. The Scratch Test - Wondering if your plant survived? The scratch test is the way to find out. Lightly scratch the bark of a branch or stem with a sharp knife or your fingernail (just barely scratch the surface, no deep gouges). If what you uncover is brown, that branch or stem is likely dead. Keep checking further down the tree until you find green, and that's where there is living tissue. When it is time, that will be where you prune back to.

3. Don't Fertilize - Fertilizer may stimulate growth on plants, but if we get cold again that tender new growth will be extremely sensitive to the cold. Even cold hardy plants should not typically be fertilized this time of year. At the start of spring, give everything a good prune and a dose of fertilizer to stimulate a wonderful burst of new growth.

4. Plan your Spring Garden - As you drive around town, you may see a palm or shrub completely frost-burnt in one yard, but look perfectly green in another, even in houses on the same street. Surprisingly, the temperature around the area varies widely depending on a number of factors, including the direction a house faces and the number of trees. Take a look at your own garden and see which spots were warmest and which were coldest. Plan accordingly for the spring and you'll be able to pick which plants are likely to perform best for each spot in your garden.

5. Damaged Palms - The cold wasn't quite intense enough to damage most palms, but if your palm trees did sustain some cold damage, the same tip applies - have patience. When you do prune your palm trees, try to prune only damaged fronds off. Over-pruning a palm tree by removing all fronds can hurt its ability to gather nutrients and limit its chances of surviving. Leave as much green as possible, or if there aren't any green fronds, prune about half of the damaged ones off and wait for a new frond to grow in the spring before pruning off the remainder of the old fronds.

6. Protect from Disease - While the freezing temperatures damage the plant, it is usually disease that actually causes them to die. To keep diseases at bay, spray damaged plants with a liquid copper fungicide. This will help the plants fight off disease until they can regain their strength.

But enough about cold. That is behind us now and with beautiful temperatures back in the area, it is one of the best times of year to get out in the garden. Make plans to come see us for all of the fun we have planned this spring, and be sure to mark your calendars to attend our Spring Fling on March 5th. We'll kick it off at 9am with a ribbon-cutting to officially open the new farmhouse, then we'll have workshops on the hour throughout the day, hourly $42 gift card giveaways (you'll have to be present to win), and The Melt Machine food truck will be at Kerby's with their tasty treats for sale from 11am to 2pm. You'll find more details in the graphic below. We can't wait to share a little garden fun with you.

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

p.s. We are actively hiring for our spring season. Plant knowledge is a bonus, but not required. What is important is that you love talking to people and want to help spread Kerby's values of success, beauty, honesty, happiness, and fun. Click here to learn more.

Forward to a Friend

New Arrivals
Citrus Trees

Lemons, Limes, Oranges, and More
Sunshine Ligustrum

Bright, Cold-Hardy Color

Gerbera Daisies

A Daisy a Day
Keeps the Doctor Away

The Kerby's Houseplant Shop

Send a living gift to your favorite plant person anywhere in the lower 48 states from the Kerby's online houseplant shop. For orders shipping to cold areas, a complimentary heat pack is included to keep plants snuggly and warm on their journey.


Follow us on: Instagram or Facebook

Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours

Monday - Saturday
9am - 5pm
11am - 4pm