Are my Photinias dead?

Asked May 18, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

This past sub freezing temperatures have appeared to have done severe damage to my Photinias. The leaves are dead, but they have flowered. Any suggestions of what to do. Thank you

Linn County Oregon plant health cold damage horticulture

3 Responses

There are many plants showing damage from the freezes we experienced this past winter and I've noticed many photinias were very much affected.

For general information on winter-injury see this article: http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/pathogen-articles/nonpathogenic-phenomena/winter-injury-landscape-plants-pacific-northwest
Here is information directly from that article:
How to Tell Whether a Tree or Branch is Alive
Before pruning a sad-looking plant to almost nothing or pulling it out altogether, check to see whether it is still alive. Scrape the bark away with a fingernail or make a shallow slant cut just under the bark with a pocket knife. Live branches are bright green or white just beneath the bark. Dead branches are brown and may be soggy. Check the tree or shrub in several places: at the twigs; down the branches, and at the crown or soil line. Older wood may be more hardy than younger wood. If the outer twigs have died, move toward the trunk until you hit live tissue. Sometimes, faded green branches may begin to regrow and do not die. Remove damaged tissue after you give the plant a chance to recover and it starts to grow again.

If the plant is still alive then give it some TLC this summer and it may be able to recover.

I hope this helps and that your photinias are able to recover!

How sever can I cut back the plant to get new growth? Thank you

Use the method above to check to see if the branches are still alive. Then look for any signs of new growth-are there any buds along the branches or any new growth at the base? You'll want to prune away all of the dead branches.
Photinias can usually handle hard pruning, but it's hard to predict how a winter-damaged plant will respond.
Good Luck!