Severe Damage to Plants Across Upper Valley

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 11:17am

MCALLEN - Three days after the cold front, many green thumbs are seeing the true affects of the cold on their outdoor plants. The results don't look good. But plant experts said even though they may look dead, most plants still have hope of recovering. 

"A lot of people go in there and start cutting the plants up or digging them out thinking they are dead, and they realize they should of had a little patience they would have come back out again," said Omar Ortega, Valley Garden Center Nurseryman. 

But how long should you wait to see if these plants will resurrect from the dead?

"Normally you'll want to wait about two or three weeks, let the damaged plants go through the process of defoliating and that way you can figure out what plant actually did get damaged, and most of them will get more of a tip burn and a leaf burn," Ortega. 

Tip burn and leaf burn are the most common side affect from the cold. This is when the end of the leaves turn brown. But many people are seeing much worse things than just brown tips, they are seeing entire plants wilting and completely turning brown. 

Even the most severely damaged plants have hope of coming back though. But it won't take two to three weeks like the minimally damaged plants. It will most likely take around two to three months, with the proper amount of pruning, the plant should sprout new leaves and shoots. 

But how do you check now to see if the plants are still alive?

"A lot of times we always say scratch a little on the trunk, you'll see some green, and you can cut a little below that area, and it will shoot up again from there, at that point, or even lower," said Ortega. 

Local weather reports show another cold front to be coming into the area late Wednesday. Experts said to still cover plants before it hits, but luckily the plants themselves will be a little more prepared. 

"A lot of these plants already went through a few cold spells so they harden off, so that's a good thing for them," Ortega. 

And always remember to uncover those plants during the day. 

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