This is the second year in a row that we in Houston and Southeast Texas have survived a series of hard freezes. This is so unusual that we have to go back to 20 years to remember it occurring here. The Houston area set a record for February for the most nights in the twenties and we are still in February as I write this.
So the freeze is over and what can we do with our damaged plants? If you left them unprotected there is not much you can do but wait and see how bad they were hurt. You can cut all of the black soft wood off and hope that it will put back out from the bottom. Good luck on this one. What about the ones that were covered but had tip damaged? These need to be cut back to good white wood as soon as possible to prevent the damage from moving down the branch. Some time you have to cut back past the first split in order to save the rest of the plant. What if you are not sure if there is damage or not? You should be able to see any damage fairly quickly with the tips getting really soft or starting to turn black.
Go back to before the freeze to see what could have been done to prevent the damage. Just covering your plants would not be enough for this hard freeze. On a fairly large plant I put 2 strands of the large C-9 Christmas lights along the trunk and branches then wrapped a frost cloth around the entire tree and a blanket around the base of the tree. I have not seen any damage to this tree. On a smaller tree we just had some of the mini Christmas lights around it then wrapped the tree with a blanket. Do not use the new LED lights because they don’t give off any heat.