My Everchanging Garden

Gardening That Grows With Me

Frost Damage

Once again we experienced a week of cold and sometimes below freezing temperatures, heavy winds and rain in May. For the second year in a row, this cold snap came just as the late trees were budding (ginkgo, sassafras, flowering dogwood) and as many shrubs and evergreens were putting on new growth. There was a significant amount of freezing damage again this year including damage to new growth (hedge maple, spireas, hydrangeas, some evergreens, dogwoods). The chokecherry were just beginning to bloom and all of the blooms were lost.

Frost and freezing temperature damage to plants in spring


  1. Tracy Lager on

    Stunning gardens! I’m so glad I stumbled on your web site. It’s inspirational. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Tracy Lager on

    Hello again! Usually my lawn looks terrific but this year it looks terrible. I was going to have top dressing and overseeding done but it is expensive. I would like to do it myself. I read a comment in your “how to” section …”Luckily I have found a product that is certified leaf & yard compost that has been pelletized.” Where can I find these pellets? Do they contain seed, or do you over-seed as well? How do you overseed, with what and when? Thanks!

  3. everchanging gardener on

    Hi Tracy,
    Sorry to hear about your lawn. I’m not sure where you are but if you are near us the early heat in May probably didn’t help but the recent rains may. I am a non-traditional lawn care person but I can tell you what I do and it seems to work for me. I have very few weeds. Except for some small areas of clover I can easily keep up hand pulling weeds because my lawn is thick.

    The downside of top dressing is unless you can afford to buy weed free (not 100% but close) top dressing material in bags you will get weed seeds. Any bulk triple mix or soil has weed seeds in it. I used the compost pellets and believe they have no weed seeds because of the method of composting and I did not experience any weed problems after using it. I purchased mine from a local co-op, the brand was Turf Revolution. While it was not cheap is was easy to spread myself (I used my broadcast fertilizer spreader) so it was cheaper than having someone come in and spread top dressing on such a large property.

    My own approach to lawn care is to disturb the soil as little as possible. Disturbing the soil brings up the weed seeds, so I’m not sure why companies come in and severely disturb lawns in spring, when weeds grow. Here is what I do:

    Spring — fertilize late but light (enough to get the lawn to thicken, but not enough to fertilize weeds). Cut often. Aerate areas heavily compacted. I do not roll my lawn. Top dress areas that need it. If you used soil, overseed as well. If you used pellets I would not unless your lawn is really thin which it sounds like it may be. You will need to water a lot if you have new grass growing in the heat of summer. Pull weeds by hand. I carry around a bucket of grass seed. If I disturb a large spot, I throw a bit of seed down. This helps grass compete with new weeds.

    Summer — fertilize in mid-June and mid-August. I keep my long very long but cut often (usually every three to four days). Leave all clippings on the lawn. When I cut my lawn it is usually still longer than my neighbour’s just before they cut.

    Fall — Overseed in late August. Fertilize in late-September. Aerate compacted areas if you need to and overseed those areas well. Where we are late summer is the best time to overseed as the seed germinates in the cool evenings. Make sure you do it early enough for the young plants to harden off before winter. These same new grass seedlings will put down stronger roots in spring before the hot dry summer arrives next year. I leave my lawn long until October when I start to cut is shorter for winter (to avoid mice damage).

    I hope that helps.


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