Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Put the Pruners Away!

This is for all my Houston readers who are struggling with plants that froze a couple weeks ago.  I get asked everyday by my clients if it's okay to cut things back yet.  The answer is no.  It is better to leave the frost damaged leaves/ stems on the plant until March 1, which is Houston's average last frost date.  Leaving the dead material on the plant insulates the living part of the plant if we get another freeze.  Also, if the dead parts are trimmed too soon, and we get a spell of warm weather (like we are now) the plants think Spring has arrived and will start putting on new growth.  If we get a late freeze, this new growth will die and set the plant back even further.  So, leave the dead growth on any damaged plants, and don't rip anything out until March/April when you can be sure the plant isn't going to surprise you with new growth from its roots/lower stems.  Not everything is completely gone even though it may look like it now.

My last piece of advice is to give your plants a good dose of Superthrive.  Superthrive is simply vitamins and hormones that help stressed/ diseased/ newly transplanted plants perform their best.  It can be combined with a fertilizer in the Spring to really give your plants the extra ummph to get going again.  I've had plants that were literally sticks come back for me with this stuff, and I am a true believer in its miracles.  Simply mix one capfull to a gallon of water and pour around the base of the plant.

Spring will be here before you know it, and we'll have beautiful gardens to play in again.  In the mean time, start some seeds inside that can be transplanted in March.  It just might satisfy that gardening itch to pick up the clippers and cut everything back.


  1. Hi Sarah,

    I struggle with clients as well who want to cut back their frost-damaged growth now as well. I almost have to confiscate their pruners to keep them from pruning ;-)

  2. Great post! Thanks for the info about the Superthrive, that is good to know. It is tempting to cut off all the dead stuff, but I have learned better. :)

  3. Thanks for the directive--I needed it! I'm still learning the fine art of pruning. :)

  4. It's really hard for some folks to leave 'ugly' sticking up there all dead and stuff. Then they wonder why yours came back and theirs died, some kind of magic that you did?

  5. I'm one of those people who never know when to prune things, so I always do research first lol. So that I keep my itchy fingers in check...:)


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