British Columbia: Pruning winter-damaged, espaliered Lonicera nitida

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by dt-van, Apr 6, 2024.

  1. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Vancouver, Canada
    The ~8-year-old Lonicera nitida espaliered against my back fence has completely defoliated after last winter's cold snap. It has never before shown any signs of winter damage. It has always grown very vigorously, so I prune it back every year, but usually in early summer where I'm removing and shortening fresh stems - I've never really seen it without leaves. Right now it is a mess of brown many branched stems, each with hundreds of thin brown twigs about 1mm dia.
    When I scraped back the bark a month ago, the stems 5mm and larger all looked green underneath, so I though the plant had not died back, but just defoliated. When I look today there is no sign of new growth and the branches seem more brittle and dry, with just a yellowish tone under the bark. I'm wondering how hard I should cut it back and whether I should take this opportunity to thin out some of the main and secondary stems as well. Should I assume anything with no green underneath is completely dead? Any advice on where, when and how much to cut would be appreciated would be appreciated.

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Other local box honeysuckle were also burned by the 1990 winter - it only takes a few hours below a given plant's bottom floor for damage to occur.

    Wait until yours sprouts replacement growth and shows you where to prune back to in doing so.
    Georgia Strait likes this.

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