Louisiana Leave Those Mushy Frost Damaged Plants Alone for Now
What was once a lush tropical landscape now resembles snot in decorative pots. Sorry to be so blunt but that's what most of my plants look like following last week's freeze. So, the question now becomes, what should I do?
The first impulse is to clear out the damaged vegetation and start over but experts suggest that I don't do that and neither should you, at least right now.
The experts I was referring to are the folks at the LSU AgCenter. They know a lot about plants of all kinds and their suggestion about those mushy freeze-damaged plants is simply to leave them for now. In fact, Dr. Heather Kirk-Ballard told the Louisiana Radio Network,
It’s hard to look at these ugly and just wait, but what if we get another freeze and then you’re just adding another insult to injury
I agree, my agave plants, my hibiscus plants, my sago palms, my bottlebrush plants, my butterfly weed, my regular palms, just about everything but the darn weeds has some kind of damage and they are ugly too look at.
Still, what Dr. Kirk-Ballard is saying is true. We are not out of the woods as far as a potential freeze goes. That mushy stuff on top of the ground that used to be your plants will protect what is left of the plan by insulating it from the cold, should we get another cold snap.
LSU AgCenter specialists also suggest that if your in the mood to do some trimming, you might want to look at maybe snipping some of the damaged parts of your trees, hearty shrubs, or even your roses. They'll be just fine with a little pruning but the other plants,
any of your tender stuff like the tropicals, that are just all mushy and look like yuck, I’d leave them alone right now and wait for a couple more weeks
Again, the words of Dr. Kirk-Ballard. It's going to be hard to wait, especially when the weather will be seasonable enough for most of us to want to get back into the yard and start making things look good again.
For most of South Louisiana, you are safe to begin planting without fear of a killing frost anytime after March 15th. That date moves to April 1st if you're along the I-20 corridor. Just remember, nature has found a way even when you weren't involved. So, just relax, let Mother Nature handle the plants and you just chill for a few weeks. Then it will be okay to get your hands dirty again.
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