February was a punishing month, but your plants may still be ok

Goodbye. Adios. Chow. Au revoir. However you want to say it, we’re happy February is over.

close up of plant leaves thickly covered in white frostMeteorologists have called it “one of the biggest, nastiest and longest-lasting polar vortexes they’ve seen”, and they have been watching since at least the 1940’s. While you may be recovering from busted pipes and lack of power, one thing that may be ok is your plants.

When you look out your windows, you may be seeing bare trees, flowerless bushes, and brown grass. You’ve had enough of the bleak, colorless landscape. You want to get a head start on your spring planting. The first thing you plan to do is to trim, clear, and remove the overgrown, dead-looking plants.

Not so fast.

Before you call us to come and clear your bleak landscaping, you may want to hold off a bit longer. Your plants may not be dead. Here are some reasons to hold off on spring cleaning up your landscaping.

Unsightly Debris Can be a Good Thing

Those droopy leaves from bushes, the tall, untrimmed grass in the corner, and overgrown vines may give your apartment community or office an untidy, scrubby look. However, they protect and insulate the new growth underneath them from sporadic winter rain and freezes.

Plants Right Now are Dormant.

Though it doesn’t often snow in Texas over the winter, it does freeze. When plants go into dormancy, they stop growing and conserve energy to protect themselves from cold weather and the shortage of nutrients in winter. In a dormant state, plants drop their leaves and won’t produce vibrant leaves and colorful flowers until the new season.

Some perennial and annual plants do thrive and flower in the winter as opposed to spring and summer. Common Texas winter perennials and biennials include pansies, snapdragons, alyssums, petunias, violas, marigolds, asters, primrose, and chrysanthemums. Certain ferns and vines also do their growing in winter. If you’re tired of seeing a bleak winter landscape, consider a few of these plants for next winter.

Sneaky Winter Freezes

Just as we have recently witnessed, from November through March, temperatures can plummet below freezing. Many plants, trees, bushes, and grasses are more likely to survive these cold nights because they are in their dormant state. If not for dormancy, when it freezes, the water inside the plant cells can damage the cell walls and lead to cell dehydration. Once the frozen water thaws, the plant cells are too damaged to process the water for nutrients. When plants are dormant, they are in a hibernation state where they shut down and don’t require as many nutrients or energy.

Thus, don’t cut your plants short before a freeze as it can add even more stress to the plant’s cells and reduce the plant’s ability to recover.

April is the Best Time to See Results

Just as plants gradually transition into a dormant state in the fall, it takes a few weeks for them to come back to “wake up” from their dormancy and display their full, vibrant colors in the spring. Typically, April is the best time to assess if your plants are alive or dead. By that point, plants that are healthy would have had time to grow new leaves and flowers. If your plants, trees, or grass are still barren and brown in April, you may want to call us to check if they are indeed dead and it is safe to remove them.

If you have vines, shrubs, or flowers that bloom in the wintertime, those plants sensitive to sun and heat may transition into their dormant state in the late spring.

Before you clear out your landscaping and prep it for winter, give it time to come out of dormancy and then let us know if you need us to clean out your landscaping. We have been serving and meeting the landscaping needs of commercial property owners in the Dallas area since 1979.


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