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Freeze Damage & Ice Storm Breakage on plants & trees

freeze damage on plants

What to do if your landscape was hit by the snow and ice of Winter 2014

Record breaking low temperatures caused a sustained deep freeze this winter. This was followed by an ice storm and cover of sleet and snow that lasted for days. Most of the plants that are used in our landscapes in zones 7a & 7b are not rated to handle this type of weather. Some damage is likely. The extent of the damage won't be known till late April or May. Wait until then to determine what needs to be pruned or replaced. The exception would be any plants or trees that may have broken or become uprooted due to the weight of the ice and snow.

As the snow and ice melts, again, I venture outside to observe what affect this has had on my landscape. There's obvious leaf damage on azaleas, loropetalum, indian hawthorne and other broadleaf evergreen shrubs. My beloved rosemary looks sad too. All of these plants have leaves that have turned black, grey or another peculiar color. Some have lost a few leaves, others have lost most of their foliage. The cold damage is most obvious on foliage. Severely affected foliage will drop off of the plant so be prepared to rake and remove this foliage. Don't prune the bare branches now. They might resprout leaves. Wait and see what happens. 

Atlanta landscape freeze damage
Azalea foliage with freeze damage

What you may not notice immediately is damage to flowers, flower buds, bark and roots. Flowers on camellias certainly did not make it. Flower bud damage on camellias is easy to spot due to the size of the bud at this time of year. If the buds are black, they are obviously dead and will typically fall off the plant. The debris from flowers and buds should be removed from the ground so as not to harbor fungal diseases.  Other plants with developing buds may have sustained damage thus there will be less flowers this year. Some plants and trees experience split bark which then causes the limb following the split to decline or die. This happens often on indica azaleas and yaupon trees. Root damage is harder to detect. I will be observing plants throughout metro Atlanta and will share typical findings in future blog posts, so stay tuned!

freeze damage on camellias
This camellia flower is damaged,
but buds and foliage look fine

Some pansies have damage, especially red & white ones. The bleached leaves and stems can be pinched back to remove that damaged foliage. The pansies will recover quickly.

atlanta landscape freeze damage pansies
Frost damaged Pansy. Image thanks to Simply Flowers

If a young tree or shrub became uprooted due to the soft soil and weight of ice and snow, it should be straightened as soon as possible. No need to rush out in the snow to do this, just get it done in the next week or so. Do not yank on the trunk to pull it upright. Instead, the root ball should be dug and shifted to the upright position. Stakes will be needed to hold the plant upright. Pruning is recommended to reduce the weight of the canopy and the limb-to-root ratio. This plant then needs to be treated as a newly installed item so be sure to water it and give it some tender loving care.

Major broken limbs on large shrubs and trees should be pruned soon also. Additional pruning might be needed to reshape the entire tree or shrub to return it into a balanced shape. Always make pruning cuts at the branch collar. Do not use black pruning paint over the cut. The trunk of the shrub or tree will heal on it's own if you prune it as indicated. Make your first cut where indicated. This reduces the chance of the limb ripping off the tree. Your second cut (2) will remove most of the limb and weight so that it is easy to make a clean third cut at the branch collar. 

how to prune large tree limb
How to prune a large limb

Schedule a "Garden Walk and Plant Consultation" if you need assistance with pruning. I can advise what needs to be done or teach you how to do it. Later in the spring I can evaluate what needs to be replaced and help you decide if the same plant should be reinstalled or a different species chosen.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc.
To schedule an appointment, complete this form


Atlanta City Biz picks up our news

More great press!

Home & Garden Design's recent receipt of 4 awards has caught the attention of Atlanta City Biz. See the article

Atlanta Business Chronicle recognizes us in "People in the News"

Professional recognition given to Danna Cain

Exciting things are happening when the Atlanta Business Chronicles notices! We're thrilled about being included in "People in the News". See what was published in the .BizJournal


"Best Of Houzz". HGD wins for second consecutive year!

"Best of Houzz 2014" Customer Satisfaction Award given to Home & Garden Design, Inc. - Atlanta.

We are beyond excited to receive this for prestigious award from the Houzz community for a second consecutive year. We were chosen to receive this award by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. Only 3% of all Houzz professionals receive this prestigious award that comes with a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. You can see our profile here.

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit
This national recognition is so significant, as it is based solely on our clients’ satisfaction. We work closely with our clients throughout the entire design process to make sure that they are happy with every decision. In fact, we encourage them to utilize the inspiring photos on Houzz to communicate with us about their dreams. The Houzz database is easily searched for plants, hardscapes and design styles which our clients can assemble into digital "Ideabooks". These quickly and clearly enable us to understand the look that our clients prefer.
best of houzz danna cain

We then start the design process by providing multiple concepts for them to choose from, and then build on each decision until the entire project pulls together. Creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space is a thoughtful process that requires both artistry and technical knowledge. We truly love what we do and thankful to Houzz for this wonderful resource.

You can see our profile here.


2 "Awards of Distinction" received from UAC

HGD wins first professional awards from UAC

Our first entries into this professional annual awards competition earns HGD two "Awards of Distinction". Hoover's front yard makeover and Urquhart's discovery play garden both received honors. We're honored to have our work recognized by both our peers as well as the public.

You can also see Hoover's project which was recently won 1st Place landscape by Home Improvement Magazine

Urquhart's discovery play garden was recently featured in the AJC Homefinder

"Green Star Award" received for environmental sustainability

Urquhart project by HGD receives more honors!

The Urquhart discovery play garden in Alpharetta was awarded the coveted "Green Star Award" by UAC, the Urban Ag Council of Georgia. This professional landscape award is given once a year to projects that exhibit innovative and sustainable solutions.

This back yard was created to provide a healthy and safe place for the children to play and discover nature. Everything is eco friendly from the raised beds of chicken manure compost & worm castings to the selection of plants for an organic vegetable garden, butterfly garden plus other plants in the landscape that will attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Hardscape are permeable. The design is water wise with drip irrigation that has state-of-the-art weather monitoring system for automatic adjustment based on current weather conditions.


Three Awards just presented to HGD

Milestone Night!

Danna and Conrad Cain of Home & Garden Design, Inc. won three professional awards last night at the Urban Ag Council of Georgia's annual competition. Here we are with Walter Reeves who was the presenter and master of ceremonies.

Flashback to 1997 when we received three awards in one night from the Georgia Green Industry Association.


Interview with writer from

Small patio in Cobb County gets attention!

So excited to have been interviewed today for a potential article to be featured on We talked about how to make small patios special. The Cooper alley project caught their attention due to the high level of detail and it's special appeal.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta

Danna Cain is featured speaker at GGIA Wintergreen State Conference

Interesting Edibles: New, Unusual & Creative is topic for seminar

I'm excited to be one of the speakers at Wintergreen 2014. GGIA invites renowned leaders in Georgia as well as nationwide horticulture specialists to share their knowledge of the latest info and trends related to landscaping. I'm very honored to be in the lineup of speakers that includes Michael Dirr & Alan Armitage of UGA fame as well as Jenny Edge Hardgrave, owner of Simply Flowers, one of the most talented landscapers I've ever meet.

GGIA's conference has been Georgia's #1 top horticulture conference for decades. Everyone who's anyone in the horticulture/agriculture world has attended this event since it's inception in the 1970's.

In addition to the fabulous educational sessions, GGIA Wintergreen features a trade show of companies from all over the Eastern U.S. who have the highest quality plants and other materials used for landscaping. It's always a joy to see and learn about the new introductions that will be on the market soon as these items will make my designs and your landscapes shine!

The current trend in the industry is to develop plants that are more dwarf, disease resistant and with longer blooming seasons. For my clients, that means plants that are very colorful, easy to maintain and small enough to not require pruning. I'm always looking for problem-solving plants so hope you contact me when you need advise or are ready to renovate your landscape.

At the conference, I will be presenting "Interesting Edibles: New, Unusual & Creative" ways to incorporate vegetables, herbs and fruit into the landscape. Explore how edibles are being incorporated into trendy urban and suburban landscapes. Receive inspirational ideas and information about extraordinary new plants, containers, vertical gardening, pollinators and more!

If you miss this conference be sure to check upcoming blog posts where I will be posting excerpts. I'm also available to present this hour long presentation at your conference, retreat or meeting. Inquire regarding details by sending email to

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta

AJC writes about our storage spaces with style!

HGD in the AJC Homefinder's Jan. 7, 2014 issue

This time the article about our projects focuses on innovative ideas for outdoor storage spaces.  I love that the writer called them "Snazzy"! Three of our projects are pictured with one of them being on the headline page shown below! In addition there are tips from Danna Cain on how to make your storage space attractive, functional and certainly not ordinary!


We're featured in UAC professional journal

Interview with Danna about her background and interests.

Every month the Urban Ag Council selects a member to feature in their journal. We're honored to have been the one selected for the December 2013 issue.


Landscape consultation donated to GLA

Georgia Lawyers for the Arts fundraiser

HGD supports Georgia Lawyers for the Arts by making a donation to their 38th annual Gala's silent auction. The winning bidder received a landscape consultation & design with Danna Cain, our landscape architect.

Good Housekeeping features our organic vegetable garden

"Creating an Outdoor Oasis" article about HGD

Good Housekeeping's official website has selected one of our projects to feature in an article about "Creating an Outdoor Oasis". Here, you'll see an interesting oasis in a front yard landscape that just so happens to be a beautiful organic vegetable and herb garden. We're excited to be picked up by this well respected national magazine.

More about this project ...
In Good Housekeeping
In UAC journal

Atlanta Home Improvement magazine chooses Hoover project as Best Before/After

HGD wins 1st Place Landscape in Before/After Contest

This contest was sponsored by Atlanta Home Improvement magazine. They asked local professionals to submit before and after photos of renovation projects in categories ranging from interior design to landscape. We won 1st Place in the landscape category for Hoover's front yard makeover in the Virginia Highlands area. We were not only given a lovely plaque .... we were featured on this beautiful 2 page spread in the April 2013 issue of the magazine!

See more about this project!

Magazine article

Atlanta InTown features HGD's Buckhead play garden

Before & After section features the Starr project

This kid friendly back yard design for a Buckhead home was featured in the April 2013 issue of Atlanta Intown. This client wanted an attractive play area that could easily be converted to more garden space when the kid grew older.
Here we leveled the yard and used granite cobble stone edging that complimented the architecture of the house. The large round sandpit will one day become a fountain just off of the rear patio with fireplace. The area where the custom play set sits will be an extension of the shade garden that features hostas and ferns.


On the cover of the AJC Homefinder!

"Outdoor Activity Havens" article 

What a thrill to open the Sunday paper and see one of our projects on the cover! The custom play set that we designed as a part of the Urquhart discovery play garden gets center stage.

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