Okay, our plants, trees and turf have already been stressed. Let’s start in 2010 with a very wet spring, a hot summer and an extremely cold winter. Then, there’s this past year (2011)–we had an extremely dry, hot summer (who could forget!). Now, we learn that our drought is not over yet. Already, we have had subfreezing temperatures. It’s anyone’s guess as to what we should expect for spring 2012. Don’t jump quickly to conclusions–nature can be unpredictable. Those trees that lost leaves early and look dead now may come back to life this spring!
For now, let’s be proactive at looking at our “knowns”. Take for instance, subtropical plants whose life depends on moderate temperatures. You may have seen around Tyler palms that have their trunks rapped in protective coverings. If you have tender plants, consider doing this: take some of those Christmas lights that were placed on hedges, plants and trees as decorations and make your life easier by keeping the Christmas lights on some of the plants that you know may be harmed by subfreezing temperatures well after Christmas. Then, cover these plants with old sheets, towels or other rags. Just a little extra light and heat could save your beloved plant, hedge or tree. I know, because it has worked for me.
Take a little extra time and attention to your plants and they will give back to you!
Tricia Wiggs, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service