Attention FBCMG Fruit Tree Sale Customers
New pickup date is March 6th. An email will be sent to each customer on Thursday, February 24th, containing pickup information. Questions: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a Year this Week has Been
Deborah Birge, Fort Bend County Master Gardener
By now you have probably read several articles, spoken to friends and watched some YouTubes on what to do about your ,garden. If you listened to the most conservative voices you may have limited cleanup to only the very worst. And there are particularly good reasons for waiting.
Most importantly is protection from the next hard frost. Will we get one? Traditionally, we have a hard frost before Easter and that holiday is April 4. If you have pruned back damaged plants already, you must cover those plants to protect from further damage. Leaving damaged wood will protect the plant for you.
Another reason to wait is the rate of recovery for each plant. Succulents are a mess but will often return from the roots. Woody plants may have quite a bit of damage but if cut too soon, the cut end has less support and less ability to repair. Doing the scratch test is a good test of ‘living or dead’ but remember the green can disappear within a few days if the plant can no longer support that stem. Wait for woody plants to begin growth. When you see leaves you know where to cut.
Fig, pomegranate, olive, guava, mango, banana, and citrus will all suffer damage but there is no way to determine the extent of that damage or even if your tree will survive until months have passed. Depending on the fruit tree and the variety of that tree, you probably will not have a fruit season. All the apple, peach, and blueberry blooms and fruit have frozen on my trees. The pears are ready to bloom and look great. The persimmon, figs and plums may not bloom this year due to twig and branch damage. Bananas will not fruit for another 18 months or so, but the blackberries will be great. Every leaf on every one of these plants, except the blackberries and blueberries has turned brown and dropped. Dropped is a good sign. If the leaf turns brown and crispy but does not fall, it is an indicator of deadwood.
In some cases, like our landscape trees, it can take a year to know the real extent of damage. Live Oaks, our beloved coastal trees, are not meant to tackle 13 degrees. They will certainly lose all leaves, but the real damage will be to the trunk and branches. In the year to come we need to be alert for trunk and bark cracks.
But now, right now, the best thing to do with our trees and woody plants is to just be patient. Nature will give us the warm, wet temperatures our plants need to begin to grow. Pruning, fertilizing, or watering extra can only make matters worse by stressing the plant further. Once plants begin to regrow or even if they do not, you will know what to do. Of course, if a branch is clearly broken do remove it but that’s it for now.
Texas AgriLife Extension is asking people to share their photos of freeze damage by adding the hashtag #LearnToLikeUgly or #ShowUsYourUgly or #agrilifeStrong when posting photos on your social media. A&M is gathering information about plants that live and plants that die. The process will lead to new recommendations for our area.
Improving the quality of life through horticulture education.