Many Dogwoods Survive the Freeze for Festival


Knoxville (WVLT) - Many people got out in their yards and covered what they could to try and save their blooms from frost over the weekend.

And many homeowners with dogwoods, especially those lining the dogwood trails, were particularly nervous with the scenic routes opening up in just two days.

So, did the dogwoods die?

"They seem to have held up well, surprisingly well," says UT Extension Forester Larry Tankersley.

At first glace it may not appear to be such good news for the stars of the Dogwood Arts Festival.

Compared to last week, the post-freeze dogwoods certainly appear to have seen better days.

But according to the experts all hope isn't lost.

"I'm optimistic that the wilting is just the way the plant defended itself. By losing all of the water, it didn't freeze," Tankersley explains.

If the blooms are only wilted, Tankersley says after a little sunshine, they could perk back up by the end of the day. "It's all pretty good news. Nature has a pretty good way of taking care of itself"

However if you see brown, while you're dogwoods probably aren't permanently damaged, they are likely done for the season. "Brown tissue is dead. They pretty much froze and are not likely to recover"

While many homeowners lining the trails are unhappy their yards won't be as vibrant as years past, some are breathing a sigh of relief that all isn't lost, especially at the Denney home in North Knoxville, where an extremely rare, experimental dogwood blooms.

"They crossbred it with two different dogwoods and it is suppose to be more disease resistant, so far it's been doing great since we've planted it," says Renee Denney.

Now they can add record breaking lows to its survival check list. However its neighbor, the poplar tree, wasn't so lucky, proof that if you get to one dogwood dead end, head to another street.

Thanks to a blanket of larger trees, or maybe a warm spot in a yard, all 70 miles of trails aren't lost.

Tankersley says it appears we got a little bit lucky once again considering our early spring, he says we were gambling with still having pretty blooms before the freeze.


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