Winter Damage on Lavender
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Sue Chmieleski
Posted on: February 21, 2007

I emailed and sent pictures a couple of weeks ago but never heard back. Maybe it was an old email address that I had. Anyway, my question was about some lavender plants that I had purchased over the last three years. This year in particular I’ve noticed a lot of grey, dying foliage on the plants. I’m not sure if this is from wind damage as we live in upstate NY, USA right off of lake Ontario. We had a mild winter which is why I’m wondering why I had so much damage. I didn’t know if there was something I should be doing to protect the plants during the winter months and if some sort of hedge or wind break would help.

I presume that the damage you see is seen in spring? Lavender needs to be fairly dry in winter. You might have to put the plants on raised hills to keep the roots dry in the winter in your climate. A private person with just a few plants can pop a pot over each of the plants to keep them dry, but this is not an option for a field!

A mild winter often means a lot of freezing and thawing and frost heaving. A straw mulch would help and a wind break would cut down on excessive drying of plants whose roots were damaged by frost heaving.

Also, I wanted to know if it was possible to dig up the plants and divide them to try to salvage the green helathy parts, the dead foliage is usually on one side of the plant but on one of my larger plants the middle of the plant is dead and the outer edges are fine. While many plants experienced this greying others look great that are in the same field.?

Lavender has very fragile roots and does not like transplanting at any time. Your suggestion might do more harm than good. Spray with some fungicide, just in case a fungus is attacking your plants, cut off the dead portions, but I would hesitate do any more.

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