North of USDA hardiness zone 7B, abelia suffers from freeze damage. Cultural factors may impact abelia's level of cold hardiness. To determine whether mid-season pruning affects the level of freeze damage, six abelia genotypes were tested in Griffin, GA. Plants were established in replicated field plots in 2001 and on July 3–4, 2003, half the individuals of each genotype were severely pruned. Laboratory freeze tests were conducted monthly on pruned and unpruned plants of each genotype from October 2003 to April 2004. Over the winter, all genotypes with exception of ‘Canyon Creek’ were significantly more cold tolerant in unpruned compared to pruned treatments. Analysis of each month independently revealed a significant difference among genotype-pruning treatment combinations from December 2003 to February 2004. Results for October and November 2003 and March and April 2004 were not significant due to an absence of cold hardiness. These results indicate that mid-season pruning of abelia may significantly reduce cold hardiness and lead to serious stem dieback in pruned plants.
2Graduate Research Assistant.
3Associate Professor; corresponding author. E-mail address: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.