Homeowners rush to protect property ahead of freeze

HOUSTON – As the temperatures continue to drop, homeowners across southeast Texas are doing what they can to protect their property.

“Which plants should I worry about? Should I worry about my azaleas or should I just worry about tropical plants? Will the evergreens be ok?” asked west Houston homeowner Papia Nandi.

According to experts at Urban Harvest, a non-profit organization in east downtown Houston that provides garden education, the time to ask questions and get to work is now because this freeze will be unlike others.

“When it’s one day, the plant can usually recover relatively easily, but when it’s multiple days then you might just lose your plants and trees,” said Kim Perry of Urban Harvest.

Perry suggests covering any plant that is tropical or sub-tropical and covers most newly planted trees. She says using frost cloth that you can buy at most garden centers or old blankets or sheets. She advises against using anything made of plastic or paper.

Perry also encourages homeowners to water the roots of the plants before the freeze.

“You want to water the soil and not the plant so you are just watering the root system because if you water the plant and the temperature drops it’s sure to freeze,” she said.

Carol Burton, who also works at Urban Harvest, suggests bringing any plant you can pick up into your house or in your garage.

“You want to do three 3 Cs. You want to cluster your container gardens and cover, so all of your container gardens cluster them together, bring them inside, put them in the garage because they are going to be more prone to freeze damage,” said Burton.

Urban Harvest also recommends taking precautions when it comes to your sprinklers.

“Make sure to turn off the sprinkler systems so they don’t freeze and burst,” Perry said.

As far as swimming pools, Sunshine Pools in Houston suggests making sure your pool equipment is running 24 hours a day during the freezing temperatures. That includes making sure your main filters and water features are turned on. They also say not to cover your pool equipment although they remind people anything can happen during a freeze.

“I would be devastated if all this didn’t survive,” said Papia Nandi as she looked around her backyard on Thursday.