Local Gardening Experts Offer Post-Freeze Tips for Affected Plants

Local Gardening Experts Offer Post-Freeze Tips for Affected Plants

January 18 2024

Earlier this week, the Greater Houston Area saw record low temps that has caused visible stress to plants across the region. Many are asking "what can I do for my sad-looking plants?" Maybe you're wondering if you should prune the branches that were exposed? Perhaps you're planning to dig up what looks dead and make plans to start over? The Fort Bend Master Gardeners say "not yet."

According to these trusted gardening experts, who undergo extensive training under the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, although the branches may look dead and February is normally a recommended time for pruning, the branches and the plant may not be dead. The Fort Bend County Master Gardeners recommend that you wait until after the plant begins growing new leaves so you can be sure which branches will recover and which will not.

For a deep-dive about proper pruning techniques, proper pruning techniques found here.

As for your grass, lawns around the Greater Houston Area may need homeowners to do a little more in some respects and a little less in others to help turfgrass recover from the recent historic freeze, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.  It's important not to stress your lawn any more than necessary for its recovery. Recommendations are:

  1. Do not use preemergent herbicides this year. Most work by interfering with photosynthesis and this could cause stressed turf to not recover.
  2. Monitor irrigation, do not overwater.
  3. You should never apply phosphorous unless a soil test reveals a shortage. Our soils in Fort Bend County are mostly clay and are naturally high in phosphorous. Too much phosphorous can cause soil to become alkaline and soil in Fort Bend County is already quite alkaline.
  4. Do not fertilize until the lawn has been mowed at least two times. This means the soil is warm and your grass is growing. Fertilizing too early only feeds the weeds.

For specific questions and assistance, the community is invited to reach out to the Fort Bend County Master Gardeners at their help desk. Assistance is provided to the public free of charge!

Submit Form Online (preferred) | Email: FortBendmg@ag.tamu.edu | Phone: 281-341-7068 

Source: FBCMG


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