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Gregg County extension agent says it’s time to trim freeze-shocked plants

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - You may have noticed some outside plants that just don’t seem to be bouncing back from February’s big freeze. An East Texas AG Agent reveals how to find out if you need to cut it back or cut it down.

If you were in East Texas during February you’ll probably never forget the big freeze, and unfortunately neither will some outside plants according to Shaniqua Davis, Gregg County AG Agent.

“This is going to be one of the more issues that we see, especially with our shrubs. You’re going to see a lot of de-foliage,” Davis said.

She says some of those dead leaves may still be hanging in there, and they should be removed.

“Look at the base of your plant. Look where the green growth is starting to push out. Some of them may be water sprouts that you’re going to have to train into your shrubs. Some of them may buds pushing out from the stem of your plant,” Shaniqua said.

So Davis says to find out where the green is coming from:

“And then just prune all the way back to there,” Davis said.

That is what the City of Longview is doing to bushes in downtown. And if there is green on top, but not much below:

“You’re still going to want to prune these because in the middle, in between here, is not very thriving active living tissue,” Davis said.

She says it will take several years for leaves to fill to the top of the shrub.

“If you look down at the bottom you’re going to see more growth pushing up. Your root system is already established. So whenever you prune something you are getting it set up to start growing; to grow more vigorously,” Davis said.

She says it’s because the plants won’t have to work as hard to push nutrients to the green.

“We’re seeing trees right now that one tree may not have been affected, but a tree right beside it still not blooming out,” Davis said.

She says plants, kind of like people, are all different and some are just more tolerant to extreme temperatures than others even though they may be the same type of plant. And Davis says this may be a great opportunity to reshape your shrubs into what you may have wanted in the first place.

She says a good way to see if a branch is still alive is the scratch test. Just scratch the bark to see if it’s green underneath. That would be a good sign, and that branch should not be pruned.

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