Spring Landscaping Time

This week’s cold snap on top of a record freeze in January has had a traumatic effect on landscaping in the Houston area. Horticulture experts say now is the time to plan for a spring comeback.

“Homeowners need to assess the damage done to their plants, but hold off on cutting back dead growth until early March – when the chance of another freeze is

behind us,” says Mark Renninger of Century Gardens Landscape Creators in Kingwood.

Renninger says that by March you can tell if the plants survived or not because they should have begun to show new growth by then. If they do sprout green shoots, it’s time to fertilize; if they don’t, it’s time to start over and re-plant.

If you happened to have missed the weather report and forgot to cover plants during a freeze, all is not necessarily lost. “Just keep an eye on the plants and make sure they get a little water when the freeze passes,” recommends Renninger.

What if you have already cut back your plants and another freeze occurs? Renninger’s advice is to just cover the plants as you would if they had foliage. “The core of the plant is what needs to be protected,” he notes. “The burned foliage is just a result of temperature, but will not actually kill a plant.”

If Jack Frost does end up destroying your plants, spring is an excellent time to re-plant because temperatures are moderate and plants need less water. But contrary to popular myth, summer is okay to plant as well, says Renninger. Homeowners just need be vigilant with the watering because of the extreme heat and stress on the plants.

While homeowners are waiting for the spring thaw, they can do some research to get ready for planting time. In a recent Houston Chronicle article, Suzy Fischer of Urban Harvest recommended that homeowners order an analysis of the soil around their home. The TexasAgriLife Extenstion Service can test soil samples for imbalances such as nutritional deficiencies, diseases and insects. Fischer reported that enhancing soil for planting can be as simple as adding a five to six inch layer of organic mulch to prepare planting beds.

With a little planning, the green will be back in your landscape this spring.

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