Were your plants damaged by the freeze? Here’s what to do next.

Patience is key as some plants may re-emerge

SAN ANTONIO – While many of us had more pressing issues during the February deep freeze, the significant toll on the landscaping is now coming to light.

What was green at the start of February is now likely brown and looking lifeless.

“It’s a mess horticulturally speaking in and around Bexar County,” said David Rodriguez, a horticulturist with Texas A&M Agrilife in San Antonio.

So, what’s next? Is it all a total loss?

“What we need to do is get some real sharp pruners, get some quality hand pruners, hedge shears, quality loppers and start. In about a week or two, no more than two weeks, start cutting, stripping leaves, cutting to the greenwood on a lot of the perennials,” Rodriguez said.

That idea is the same for evergreen shrubs. Rodriguez also recommends pulling the organic mulch away from plants to allow the late February sun to warm up the soil.

Other plant life, like palms and sago palms, also took a beating.

“Wait a couple of weeks on those and then completely remove all the dead looking fronds,” Rodriguez said.

As long as their center is nice and firm, sago palms can make a comeback. The new fronds will emerge from the center. If the yellow crown is soft and can be removed easily, it likely didn’t make it.

Rodriguez said another plant group you need to be patient with is citrus.

“There’s a ton of citrus that looks very, very bad. And on the citrus, we really have to be a little more patient,” he said.

Patience is the key in general.

“If you don’t see vigorous, healthy growth by mid-April, early May, or they look they’re lacking and they’re a little slow coming out, or they’re just weak, then you’ll want to replace them,” Rodriguez said.

If that’s the case, you may opt to wait until fall to do your planting, with the hot summer sun picking up in June.

Also, keep in mind that while we are approaching our average final freeze date in San Antonio, a freeze in March is always possible. San Antonio’s latest freeze ever occurred on April 3, 1987.

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