These continued low temperatures are hurting many of your Region 9 plants! Garden Expert Randy Lemmon says there's some loss coming to some neighborhood front yards. "What is the least amount of a temperature that these tropical plants can take? I think we're going to lose probably 70% of the palms in the Greater Houston Area this year." He says to give your tropical plants a few weeks of "wait and see" before you start removing them.
Whether you covered your outdoor plants or not - they are taking a beating right now. Lemmon says here's what you do if you think there's any life left. "We have to look at it and see just how 'oooo-gooey crispy brown and chewy' it is and then we're going to cut it way back." Then wait a few weeks to see if any new growth appears.
This freeze isn't only hurting the gardening in your front yard, it is hurting the garden industry as well. Lemmon comments, "This freeze over the state of Texas is really hurting the growers badly. It's going to be 6 to 8 months before we know how much inventory we do and don't have. Nurseries and garden centers will be selling a lot of replacement plants - but it will take a very long time before it is near the stock and variety they once hand."
Finally there is some good news coming out of these prolonged freezing temperatures. Lemmon hints that it involves mosquitoes. "There's going to be a decrease in the mosquito population! There's a good chance we're going to see the lowest mosquito count in the Houston area that we have seen in a long time!"
Good for you if you covered your outdoor plants before the prolonged freezing. Lemmon, however, says it might be for naught. "The problem is - we can cover our plants with all this great stuff, BUT that only brings you up around 10 degrees in temperature. If the temperature is 15 degrees - then the plant is only up to 25 degrees!" And 25 degrees is too harsh for our tropical gardens.
photo: GardenLine with Randy Lemmon