Last week’s late May snowstorm was the worst in 44 years. This blog has the most frequently asked questions and answers our clients asked on how to deal with a late spring snowstorm. It contains Pro Tips on How to set your plant up for a healthy rebound.

Dealing With Late Spring Snow


Last week’s snowfall dealt a blow to Colorado Front Range landscapes. Here is a list of questions we received from homeowners in Aurora, Parker, Pinery, Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

What plants are most likely to be impacted by the cold temperatures?

Dogwood, lilac and forsythia were the most impacted spring-blooming plants. Snow helped insulate many low-growing perennials in many neighborhoods. Spring lowering plants set their blooms in the late summer. Therefore, pruning these plants after the storm will not force more blooms this season. You will have to wait and see if they lost their spring blooms.

What trees are most likely to be impacted by the cold temperature?

Fruit trees and ornamental flowering trees like ornamental pear and crabapple may be at risk of losing their fruit from the storm. They may not bloom if their flowers were killed by cold temperatures. Since there are so many microclimates in our neighborhoods some trees will not bear fruit and others will do just fine.

How do I deal with snow-damaged trees?

  • Check hazards before sawing. Avoid hurting yourself or further damaging the tree by assessing the situation. Do not contact downed utility lines, stand under broken branches, or cut branches that will cause a hazard when they fall to the ground.
  • Assess the tree’s health: The tree will probably recover fully if it has its main upward branch, most of its major limbs and half or more of its crown.
  • Prune broken branches: Pruning lowers the risk of decay and insects or diseases entering the wounded tree. Pruning at the branch collar where a branch joins a larger one. Do not over-prune.
  • Reach out for help: Call a professional landscaper or arborist for more difficult or dangerous jobs.

What do I do with my roses?

Your rose’s new growth may have been killed if subjected to a hard freeze. After this snow and cold weather, it is now a great time to prune your roses. Here are 4 Pro Tips:

  • Prune all the brown and gray dead branches.
  • Prune out any cracked, broken, or damaged branches.
  • Prune crossing branches to avoid damage by rubbing together.
  • Clean up all debris to remove disease.

This pruning will trigger growth so your roses will flower this year.

What about my lawn?

The good news is our lawn will be just fine especially if you have already applied a granular fertilizer. This additional moisture will help the turf roots absorb the nutrients. If you have not applied an early spring fertilizer, not would be a good to do so.

What do I do next?

The best advice is to wait and see. There are so many microclimates in Arapahoe and Douglas County Colorado. They vary from town to town and neighborhood to neighborhood. Even in a single property there are warmer, more protected areas with less exposure to the elements.

Just consider the final snow totals for our neighborhoods southeast and south of Denver:

  • Aurora: 5.8 inches
  • Castle Pines: 7 inches
  • Castle Rock: 9 inches
  • Denver International Airport: 3.4 inches
  • Elizabeth: 11 inches
  • Franktown: 7.8 inches
  • Highlands Ranch: 3.5 inches
  • Lone Tree: 5 inches
  • Parker: 6.3 inches
  • Pinery: 7.8 inches

This late May snowstorm was the worst in 44 years. Expect to have less color this spring and summer due to front nipping buds in the bud. Let nature take its course before we decide what to do.

Use the tips above to recover and get your yard off to a good start.

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