TYLER, Texas (KETK)- After February’s brutal winter storm in, it left many East Texans without much of their plants and shrubs.
In September, an Old Farmer’s Almanac, a tool used to predict the weather, predicted that East Texas may be headed into a hard winter.
Brenda Swagerty, Manager at Plants of Texas Nursery, said it’s important to keep your plants well mulched, in the right soil and keeping insects and fungal infections away from them prior to the freeze.
“If you have a healthy plant right before going into winter, it actually does a little better and doesn’t go into the stresses that a plant that is sick will go into”, said Swagerty.
With the high humidity and rainfall East Texas receives, gardeners should keep an eye out for fungal infections.
“Water is an insulant. So, if we know a freeze is coming, two or three days prior to that cold from hitting, we need to water thoroughly and daily until the day the storm comes and temperatures drop, and them simply let them freeze,” Swagerty added.
By overwatering those couple of days, the plant itself will bring up all the water it can hold, and use it to insulate itself from the inside out. Water takes longer to freeze than air.
The more water we give the plants, the more likely it is for them to survive even in temperatures below zero. Gardeners have recommended to protect shrubs from wind shear, by covering your plants and flower beds with a colored or black cloth and securing tightly around your plants, ensuring no air pockets.
“We have to be sure to understand that and wrap our heads around the fact that we are still in Tyler, Texas. We can’t plant material that grows in Colorado or bring material here that grows in New Hampshire because of the freeze,” Swagerty said. “They just simply won’t survive our summers here and the fact that our soil temperature is much higher than anywhere else.”
Wind shear is actually more damaging than frost. Covering your plant pots and draining your garden fountains are also encouraged to avoid any cracking.