Trees across the nation have suffered damage during the recent cold snap.
Unseasonably warm temperatures in March and a severe cold snap over the Easter weekend froze the young leaves and flowers on many trees and shrubs across the U.S.
In my own yard, the lilacs and privets seem to be all right, but the ashes and maples have been hit hard. Their leaves and blossoms are hanging like limp black rags on the branches.
There's not much to do but wait. Shrubs and trees that were in bloom won't flower again, but they should recover and produce leaves within the next month. Similarly, shrubs and trees whose tender new leaves were frozen will put out a new set of leaves after they realize what happened and adapt.
Most of the dead leaves will drop off by themselves as new growth starts. Pruning away dead growth would be risky because it would be so easy to inadvertently damage the area that will produce new growth.
Take a look at these news articles for some comments more expert than mine about freeze-damaged trees:
- Time is best response for freeze-damaged plants: Dealing with the aftermath of the hard freeze on landscape plants - Johnson County, Missouri Extension column
- Freeze causes devastating loss - The Northeast Georgian
- Freeze Causes Damage to Early-Blooming Plants, Trees - The Times Union (Warsaw and Kosciusko Counties, Indiana)
- Spring Freeze: What to Do With Injured Plants - 14 WFIE Tri-State (Evansville, Indiana)
- Healthy trees store energy and therefore will be able to survive a late spring freeze - The Birmingham (AL) News
Another helpful document:
- Effects of Cold Weather on Horticultural Plants in Indiana, a publication of Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.
As always, for good answers that are specific to your particular area, it's best to call your local Extension Service. You'll probably find the Extension Service listed among the state agencies in your telephone book.