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GARDENLINE TIP OF THE WEEK...
Howdy Gardening Enthusiasts! Here’s your
GardenLine Email Tip of the Week from Randy Lemmon,
heard exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to Noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
With your permission, may I gloat for just
one second? During my radio broadcasts on December
28th & 29th, we were looking ahead at the weather
predictions, so as to figure out what needed to be
protected in the landscape with potential freezes.
The forecast pages on all the television station
websites predicted dire freeze
numbers of 18, 19 and even 20 degrees Thursday
January 3rd... The forecasts that were actually
broadcast on the 1st and 2nd of January were even
more dire sounding. But on my GardenLine radio
broadcasts of the 28th and 29th, I predicted it
wouldn’t be near that bad (although I agreed
we would see some freezing temps). Officially
the low was around 29 degrees. Exactly, what I
predicted! I bring this up because it has a lot
to do with what needs covering and what does not.
In fact, I like to use 25 degrees as the magical
number here in the Houston area.
In other words, if it gets below 25, there
are some plants that might need covering, when in
all other cases we leave them alone. Palm trees
such as the Queen Palms and newly planted Sago
Palms are good examples. While they are hardy
to light freezing temperatures, they can suffer
when low temps are below 25 degrees for multiple
hours. My whole point is "why cover things unless
you absolutely have to?" In other words, I RULE!
And you should listen only to me when it comes to
weather predictions. No seriously, I think that
most television news stations make such dastardly
predictions as a way to “generate some news,” and
while their dire predictions are not all bad, it
does cause some people to cover more than really
need to in the landscape.
Of course, we still have some plants that
suffered from freeze damage. But remember this
as your guiding force in judging what’s damaged
and what’s not -- the leaves of tropical plants
are expendable. If you lose leaves, it doesn’t
mean you’re losing the plant. The best way to
tell if a plant suffered serious damage from the
freezes is to look at the limbs especially on plants
like Hibiscus and Bougainvillea . If you see
browning, graying or blackening wood, then the
wood has suffered freeze damage, and needs to
be pruned back to green wood. On other tropicals
like Banana Trees, you again need to remember that
the leaves/fronds are expendable, and on the stalk
you need to cut back past mushy, browning parts.
There is an email tip we sent out about a month
ago, talking about protecting tropical plants…
if you didn’t see it or if you didn’t keep it,
click here for more info:
If you have any other questions about what
to cover and protect on freezing nights, don’t
hesitate to call me on the GardenLine weekends
from 8 to noon, exclusively on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
Oh, and by the way, don’t pay too close attention to
television reporters (not just to bash the weather
forecasters on TV) when they tell you what to cover
on freezing nights, unless they’re interviewing an
expert. I saw a Channel 2 reporter tell everyone
-- without any corroboration -- to cover their
Azaleas on Tuesday night January 1st. YIKES!!!
I just envisioned all these people running out
to cover the countless azaleas in Houston, when
they didn’t need to at all. Azaleas can handle
temperatures well into the teens. The only time
you “might” even think about covering them would
be on freezing nights right before the blooms are
about to pop. Not now, when this cold weather is
actually benefiting the azaleas. That’s because
they need cooler temps in December and January to
produce better bloom heads in February and March.
Here's to great gardening! Randy Lemmon