Don’t do anything for plants or trees that look dead or damaged by the Deep Cold. Yes, it looks terrible but “learn to like ugly," says Larry Stein, an Texas A&M University horticulturist.
Wait at least two weeks before you do any major work, he says. Particularly resist the urge to go out and start cutting trees and shrubs back. This is the traditional time to prune trees and roses, but if you haven’t done so yet, give it a little more time.
If you have perennial flowers such as salvias, they are likely to come back from the roots. They look like piles of pathetic brown stems now but are likely to improve. I have sage that is fried on top, but I can already see green leaves at the bottom.
Trees have the same problems. The leaves are withered and curled. However, some stems may have survived. You don’t want to prematurely prune the good back with the bad.
If you just can’t stand not knowing whether that Meyers lemon tree or vitex survived, see if some limbs are brittle, they likely won’t make it and will have to be cut back in a couple of weeks. Then gently, scrap a piece of bark off of main stems. If there is green underneath it will likely make it.
Your lawn may be brown but give that some time are well. Some may have been dormant and will come back out. Other patches may need to be replaced in the spring.
If you still have any winter vegetables in the garden, they are done. It was time to pull them up anyway. Unless, of course, they made it. Spinach seems to have done just fine.
Just-planted potatoes are likely to make it. Some onions may have eked through while others are not salvageable. Again, it’s a matter of wait and see. Or because it’s time to plant, you may want to just rip onions out and plant again.
Remember though, there may be another freeze (or two) before spring truly arrives.
If you were planting cool-weather vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and cabbage, go ahead.
Replacing some of your plants may be difficult and more expensive. Wholesale growers were hit with the same weather. They may have fewer plants and likely will have to charge more for them.
One local wholesale grower said she lost 16 percent of her plants. That’s after putting 40 propane heaters in the greenhouse.
Don’t give up, just be patient.
For more help, you can sign-up for a free webinar on dealing with the freeze at facebook.com/events/445237590155739 or see Kaufman County Master Gardeners at facebook.com/Aggie-Horticulture-26803072143/.