Laurie Garretson: Caring for plants after winter weather | Home And Garden

What a week it has been. Temperatures colder than many gardeners have ever seen and probably never care to see again. Who would have ever thought we would experience so long a period of freezing cold weather?

Many gardeners, as well as nongardeners, were frantically trying to pull container plants indoors or to sheltered areas and to adequately cover all tender outdoor in-ground plants. But with the exceptionally cold temperatures we experienced, it was almost impossible to save all plants without a temperature-controlled greenhouse.

Now that all the snow is melting, and thank goodness temperatures are beginning to rise, we can now assess all the damage. Outdoor in-ground plants probably look pretty sad and your lawn probably doesn’t look much better. Where to start and what to do? I realize that many people will just prefer to pull everything out and start all over, which is one option, but could be expensive and not a possibility for others.

First of all, you’ll need some patience, because some damaged plants and trees could take weeks or even months to show their true damage. As the sun comes out and temperatures begin to rise, more damage will probably start to show up.

It could be upsetting to now pull out dead-looking plants that a few weeks from now could be sprouting out new green leaves and buds. So what to do? First thing is to clean up any accumulated wet leaves off the lawn that could suffocate the grass from the lack of sun and cause dead patches and fungus diseases. Cut off any broken tree limbs affected by the storm. Trim back shrubs that show die-back damage and clean up all debris from flower beds and lawns.

Start regularly fertilizing everything with natural fertilizers to help revitalize everything from the stress and damage caused by the storm. And let’s all hope it’s a very long time before we experience another winter storm. After all, our hurricanes are bad enough.

Until next time, let’s all try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to [email protected] or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.