HOUSTON – In a “normal” year, Houston area lawns would be looking lush, green and ready for Spring. However, last month’s freeze left our landscape looking brown and dead.
Many of you are wondering if there is any hope to revive your plants and shrubs, or if you’ll have to dig them up and start over. KPRC 2 consumer expert Amy Davis called on Houston’s best-known authority in horticulture to find out what you can do to bring them back to life.
Randy Lemmon has been hosting the Garden Line with Randy Lemmon radio show on KTRH News 740 for nearly 25 years.
He has been looking for signs of life all over the Gulf Coast region since the big freeze. According to Lemmon, you need to start cutting away all of the brown dead leaves and look for any green you can find.
“If you cut and cut and cut and you don’t see any green in the wood, then you gotta stop, you know it’s dead,” Lemmon said. “It has to come out and start over.”
Steps to recovery:
- Get your pruning shears out and start cutting everything brown.
- When you see green in the wood, stop cutting and start fertilizing. As for what type of fertilizer to use on different plants and lawns, check out Lemmon’s Gardenline with Randy Lemmon site. He has a ton of helpful information compiled.
“Focus on the fertilizer for the proper plant,” Lemmon advised. “And be aggressive with it this year because, if it is still alive, it’s gonna need as much food as possible.”
The good news about our lawns? Lemmon said most of them survived even if they look worse for wear now. He says you need to cut all of the brown grass and bag those clippings.
“Let’s get all of the dead debris up,” Lemmon said. “Open up the space. Get the fertilizer down. Get the trace minerals down.”
If any plants are gooey or mushy, Lemmon said to get rid of them. That means they’re rotten and they will spread fungal disease. It’s why Lemmon says you should treat everything with a fungicide as you prune and clip.
Do a tug test on plants to find out if they survived the cold blast. If they don’t come up by the roots when you tug on them, just trim the brown away until you see any sign of life.
To find out if your Sago palm or any palm tree will recover, Lemmon said you have to look in the very center of the palm at the tomantosa.
“If it has that fuzzy look and it has the needles sticking straight up with a slight twist to them, that is very much alive,” he said.