After a whirlwind spring of endless rain and occasional summer days, we're finally seeing sun in the forecast and tourists on the horizon. With summer comes gardening, landscaping, and flower boxes. But how come our plants are all looking a little brown and droopy this year?

O'Donal's Nursery did the hard research to explain why your plants might not be looking so perky this spring and how to remedy them as temperatures rise.

dead leaf of rhododendron
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Early Snow Storms

Believe it or not, our plants were beaten and bruised way back in the fall, when we experienced a gnarly snow storm out of the blue. Most plants had yet to become fully dormant, so their juicy green cells died in the first major freeze. They still looked okay after that because they were frozen in time. Now that they're all thawing out, the trauma from that first snow is finally catching up to them.

Not Enough Snow

Surprisingly, more snow is helpful to plants hibernating through the winter. Light, fluffy snow provides protection and insulation, while allowing air to still reach the plant. We got very little snow in Southern Maine this winter, which meant more exposed plants to the elements.

Ice, Ice, Baby

This winter was a vicious cycle of snow, slush, rain, freeze, which caked our poor plants in sheets of impenetrable ice that forced much colder temps and little to no ventilation.

Now It's Time to Heal

As your plants come back to life after the brutally icy Maine winter, allow them time to develop new growth before cutting them back. If buds form beyond the brown leaves, let them grow and remove dead leaves later. If growth appears below brown tips, wait a while and then trim back to where the new growth is forming.

Not all plants will make it through this winter but if you know how to nurse your survivors back to health and look out for your shrubbery next fall by covering your plants with a protective layer if you see frost in the forecast, we can all hope to keep the majority of our plants thriving despite these weird seasons of ours.

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