This winter Houstonians saw more snow than they had in over a decade. While it’s nothing compared to our neighbors to the north, cold weather and the occasional freeze do make their way to Houston from time to time. Proper planning and careful plant selection can save you from having to redo landscaping every spring.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
While there are several measures you can take to protect your plants from a freeze, the best guarantee of survival is to choose plants made to withstand the inclement weather. When temperatures drop, you may not be able to cover fragile plant life with sheets. Maybe you’re out of town, or the weather shifted without warning. Choosing the right plants up front will go a long way in preventing loss and damage from freezes. Before jumping into a new landscape design and installation, check out these landscaping tips for freeze recovery:
When a freeze is expected, add mulch to the soil around plants and shrubs. Mulching protects the roots of plants and prevents heat loss. It’s also a good idea to completely cover tender plants (those with high water concentration) with a cloth. You can use specialty plant coverings from a greenhouse or hardware store, but a sheet usually works just fine. Keep the covering in place for at least 24 hours after the temperatures have risen.
After the freeze, you may be alarmed to see a burned appearance in the leaves of plants. Brown leaves don’t necessarily mean that the plant is dead. If you scratch the stalk and see green, there’s a good chance it will repair itself. Simply prune off the brown, damaged leaves or branches. After a hard freeze, a thorough watering can help damaged roots. In time, you may notice that some plants die altogether, in which case you should remove them.
If your landscaping was significantly damaged by a freeze, you might be looking ahead to what to plant next. You may want to browse the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) zone ratings. All plants are given a hardiness rating based on their level of resistance. The highest numbers are zones where temperatures are warmer, while the lowest numbers are cool season ranges. Choose plants that will tolerate light freezes but are able to withstand high temperatures as well.
Landscaping Tips for Texans
Occasional freezing is common in most parts of Texas, so it’s important to plan your landscaping accordingly. Your landscape designer should work with you to carefully select plants that will survive anticipated weather conditions for your area. If you’d rather not have to deal with covering plants before a freeze, consider hardy plants made for a range of temperatures.
Trust Your Landscape Professional
It’s disappointing to lose plant life in a freeze and can make choosing new landscape elements daunting. Your landscape designer can alleviate much of this stress, by choosing hardy plants better suited for freezing temperatures.
For help assessing your frost damaged landscaping, or to get started with a new frost-resistant landscape design, Contact Us.