HELP me save my Pencil Bushes! Freezing temps in Arizona

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by 007Martini, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. 007Martini

    007Martini Member

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    I am desperately seeking advise re my [SEARCH]pencil bushes[/SEARCH]. We had freezing weather here in the desert and two 7' pencil bushes, which have been in the ground since 2/2001, appear to have been damaged from a freeze. They were beautifully tipped red/orange this winter. We did freeze 2 nights in late January. Now they look chocolate brown with black tips and feel wilted. I am just devastated! Should I have my gardener cut them back to eliminate all of the brown, black, wilted branches?

    Any advise at this juncture would be greatly appreciated. We're back to normal temps in the high 70's.

  2. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
    General advice is to: 1) Wait until the threat of frost is eliminated. 2) Prune back the damaged tissue with a clean blade (knife, clippers, etc.) 3) You may have to "shape" your plant with further pruning 4) Treat the fresh cuts with a sulphur powder to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.

    The key points are that the fresh cuts are susceptable to further damage from bacterial and freeze damage, so it is wise to wait until the weather warms up, since you are back in the 70's, it may be OK to start.

    The plants will never look the same, but it is likely, they will recover. Otherwise, the plants will likely live, untreated, but may have a disfigured look with areas of dark-grey, brown scabs. Living in Arizona, you may have seen cacti and other plants with such damage. It may look OK in the wild of the desert, but it may not be something you'd like to have in your yard. It's up to you.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007

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