What To Do Now??

Even Though You Covered & Lighted Your Plumerias

By Michele Wilcox

This article is a compilation of several experts' tips on what to do when you have a winter freeze and damage occurs to your Plumerias. The experts noted are Ken Ames, Bud Guillot, and Jack Morgan. Thank you for your wisdom. The information comes from the SoCal Plumeria Society newsletter. I hope it will be okay to adapt this information into our Plumeria site because we've had so many inquires and questions on what to do. I want to get this info out to everyone as fast as I can to help everyone care for their frozen Plumerias. This year has been especially hard on our plants...not just our Plumerias ... and not just in Arizona.

There are two types of freezing:
1. Crystallized seepage at the ends of the branches.
2. Black and oozing on the branches.

Crystallized seepage - this is caused by cellular rupture. The affected tips will die back due to freezing.
Remedy: Do nothing at this time. The tips are not rotten, just dead. Watch it start growing in Spring and cut off the dead pieces then. Don't break off the white crystallized substance as it is protecting and sealing off the cracked areas.
Don't remove any branches with the white crystallization unless they turn black.

Black ooze - the black substance is damaged latex. If the oozing stops, the plumeria may be okay. If it starts to shrivel, then cut off the damaged branches.
Remedy: Wait till the weather warms up before you cut any branches. Look for continuing oozing and shriveling. Cut these branches. New growth should start below the affected areas.

Dead Mushy Branches or Tips - If you have black, dead branches remove them ASAP to keep them from infecting the rest of the Plumeria. Remove down to good, clean material and seal with lime paste (available at garden centers). In a pinch, other sealers that you might have around the house are Latex Shower Caulk or Latex Caulking. Always cut at a 45 degree angle to clean, white pulp with clean cutting utensils. Use peroxide or alcohol to clean cutting utensils. Wait until summer to dig out dead trees. They just might start sending out new growth from the soil line.

Check Your Damage - A mild frost may mottle leaves, brown leaves or blacken leaves. A moderate frost will show leaves drooping and hanging with the same leaf problems as above. Stem damage may show on your plumeria from one to 21 days depending on weather conditions. Damage will show on the tips first. Serious damage will show in mushy branches and black branches. Black branches from frost is not black tip disease. Don't be surprised if our recent frosts have killed some of your Plumerias. Don't despair. You can start new cuttings again in the Spring!

Next year, plan early for frost to prevent any future Plumeria damage. A hard freeze can sneak up on you very quickly. And without a plan of action, you may loose all your Plumerias. Keep a thermometer nearby and watch your local weather for night time lows. Gather all your winterizing Plumeria gear at summerís end and have it ready for winter. I hope these suggestions and comments will help you. Thanks again to our Plumeria experts for their very sound advice.

And remember ... Plumerias are resilient trees with preventative winter care. Donít be discouraged by a hard winterís frost and the loss of Plumerias. Try again with new trees and remember the joy of growing these wonderfully colorful and fragrant trees.

Spring is just around the corner . . .





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