How to Prune Frosted Plants in Florida


While not known for long periods of frost, Florida does experience the occasional winter freeze. Since freezes are rare, plants are not used to cold temperatures and may experience enough frost damage to kill growth. Young plants in particular are susceptible. While some plants may die back altogether, most can be revived with careful spring pruning. To prevent frost damage, cover plants with burlap or provide a fuel-powered space heater to warm garden plants during freezes.

Step 1

Wait until the plant begins to grow in the spring to prune, so you can accurately determine what parts of the plant received damage. In the meantime, remove leaves that turn brown and dry out.

Step 2

Inspect frost-damaged plants once your plants begin to grow again. Note which parts of the plant are growing again and which do not show new growth. If areas do not show new buds while other parts of the plant are budding, they have frost damage.

Step 3

Trim dead or damaged areas back to healthy lateral branches (if they have them) or cut frosted parts off the plant altogether. Do not cut into the plant's trunk if pruning trees or shrubs.

Step 4

Scrape away a bit of bark using a pocket knife if you cannot tell whether growth is alive or dead. Dead growth will be tan or brown underneath the skin while live growth will be green. Cut off branches that show brown underneath the skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners
  • Pocket knife


  • University of California Davis: Frost Damaged Plants May Need Pruning, But Wait Until Spring
  • University of Florida Okechobee Extension Service: Dealing with Frost Damage
Keywords: frost damage plants, Florida frost damage, prune frosted plants

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.