Janet Laminack: Area’s long winter could spell trouble for certain plants

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It’s been a tough year already. And spring is just now getting here with temperatures finally warming up.

If you follow my advice in this column, you’ve probably already had to replant your tomatoes. Sorry about that. Mine survived the first hail storm, but the second hail storm really damaged them, then the cold snap finished them off. But I waited until Easter and paid more attention to the leafing out of the pecan trees and so now I’m absolutely certain pretty much that tomatoes can be in the ground safely now or soon. Right?

Let’s talk about the rest of the landscape and what we can expect. We had some particularly cold days this winter that were dry. That can spell trouble for plants, especially tender perennials and evergreen plants.

I expect to see some trouble with St. Augustine lawns this season because of that, possibly even loss of turf. Snow can serve as insulation as does a rain before we get below freezing. Unfortunately, we had little precipitation, and when we did, it was a layer of ice. Some experts are speculating that the ice we had on the ground for several days may have hampered air exchange to the roots and that might cause damage to plants. We will see.

Next up was hail damage. Leaves were knocked off trees, but most trees have bounced back by quickly putting out more leaves. However, look for damage on the stems and trunks of the trees, especially young trees. No treatment is recommended, such as painting or otherwise dressing the wound. Trees take care of their wounds quite efficiently. However, you should remain mindful that your tree may be under stress this season, so be sure and provide adequate water if we get into a dry period.

After all this, you probably think it’s impossible to grow plants in North Texas. Come check out what Master Gardeners have done in their home gardens and copy them. The Denton County Master Gardener Garden Tour is May 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring four home gardens and the Flower Mound. This is an annual fundraiser and tickets are only $10, a single garden ticket is $5, while children under 14 are free and visiting the Flower Mound is free.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.dcmga.com or call 940-349-2892. You can also contact us with landscape and gardening questions at the above website and phone number or email us at master.gardener@dentoncounty.com and we will do our best to help.

JANET LAMINACK is the horticulture county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2883 or jelaminack@ag.tamu.edu.

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