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Shrub and Tree Care After Texas’ Unusual Cold Snap

Note: This article is specifically targeted to address issues caused by the February 2021 winter event in North Texas.

Living in Texas means you have experienced just how cold it can get in the wintertime. It was no different this year, 2021, as we experienced some of our worst cold weather and freezing temperatures ever. This out-of-nowhere cold snap caused a lot of trouble for homeowners and their properties. It took a toll on our landscaping through the snow and frost that fell on our shrubs and trees. Like you, trees and shrubs can get too cold and need help to survive and live well. Many homeowners are now reporting problems with their trees and bushes as a result of this weather event. Thankfully, Chorbie’s expert Tree and Shrub Care service has your back and can tell you exactly what needs to be done for your plants’ health.

How To Check Your Shrub or Tree’s Health

Identifying how serious of an issue your plant is having from the weather is the first thing you are going to want to do for your trees and shrubs. Doing this is very simple and easy to do without requiring lots of tools and time.

  1. Go to your shrub and cut back or scrape the bark back to see what color it is underneath.
  2. You are going to see a variation of either green or brown when you do this.
  3. If you see green, that means the plant is healthy and is doing just fine, leave it alone in this case.
  4. However, if you make your cut or scrape and underneath it is brown, that isn’t a good sign, but it’s still advised to leave it alone.
Trees and shrubs
Green Tissue Under Bark
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No Green Tissue Under Bark

Seeing brown means that either that limb or part of the tree is dead, or that the whole thing is dead. It can be hard to tell entirely without a professional to assess the situation specifically since each plant has its own unique genetics and traits, just like we do. It is highly recommended that you call in an expert for advice before making any large changes to your landscape regarding possible dead plants.

Why Should You Wait Instead Of Taking Action Now?

When homeowners see cold spells in North Texas, it makes many of us want to take action right then and there. That isn’t the best idea in all cases. You should actually resist doing any work on your trees or shrubs that could have been potentially harmed from this surprising severe weather. There are a few good reasons for this. One is that with early spring still in full swing, we could experience another severe winter-like storm with cold temperatures. This just means that a new plant will have even less chance of surviving and you’d be wasting your time and money. With a new plant, it will also have to develop its root system whereas your plant that’s experiencing problems likely already has a developed root system. It may not seem like a big issue, but in reality, the plant you already have would more than likely have a better chance of surviving and may develop faster than going out and replacing it with a new one.

If you notice your plant is dropping dead leaves instead of them staying on, that is generally a good sign to look out for. Given the unexpected weather, all Texans should know that plants are going to be weaker than before. They are going to be working a lot harder to put on leaf tissue. Seeing these signs may be nerve-racking but don’t make any sudden decisions and give your plant an opportunity to heal and repair itself.

Your tree or shrub will need time to repair itself. In the worst-case scenario, if you do feel like you have to try something, prune the plant down to the bare minimum to see if it starts leafing out again. If it can develop new leaves after being pruned then it is in a good place.

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Indian Hawthorn

What You Should Do If Experiencing These Types Of Problems

Facing extreme cold and freeze damage in our landscapes can be difficult but that’s why Chorbie is here to ease the process. We advise strongly you to take advantage of our Total Shrub Care and Total tree care program. North Texas shrubs and trees will likely need additional support this season to help them defend against insects and disease, in addition to timely and specifically chosen fertilizer applications to help them restore energy reserves. For each tree and shrub, the conditions and health can be vastly different and should be monitored for the sake of your landscape. Call Chorbie today to have a professional evaluate your trees and shrubs to ensure they are healthy or what you can do to take action after the freezing weather we had in February.