We have three beautiful Norfolk Island pine trees (in large pots) that thrive outside. We keep them in a greenhouse climate during the winter on the south side of our home. This year, the greenhouse took a hit from a winter storm and exposed the plants inside to temperatures around 19 degrees. Obviously, they took a serious hit and have browned out at the top, to about 8" above the soil. Are they DEAD, or will they possibly come back this spring? If they will come back, what pruning tips can you give me?
Frost Damaged Norfolk Island Pines
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
If part of the tree is still alive, it can survive but, unfortunately, it will be deformed. Once the main trunk is killed at the top, several side branches will take over to become trunks. Even if only one branch steps forward, the tree will be oddly shaped. Pruning itself will not harm the trees, but they will not regain their former shape.