Steps You Need to Take to Help Your Damaged Plants and Lawn

gillnurseryBest Practices, Problem Solving, Timely Tips31 Comments

Our first reaction to make it all better is to water our grass and plants. Do not water unless the ground is close to dry. Watering damaged plants will encourage fungal and bacterial growth, which we want to avoid. Stick your finger in the soil and check for moisture. If it is moist, do not water yet. 

You can mow your grass if it is taller and needs to be mowed. Place your mower setting one setting lower; do not cut too short. Cutting too short will add stress to grass that’s already stressed from the freeze.

Do not fertilize your lawn until it is greened up and actively growing. That is when the grass can best absorb the fertilizer in its roots and benefit from the nutrients.  

Start removing the dead/damaged portion on your plants. Some examples below are: 

  1. If the plant is mushy (tropicals like ginger, Moses in the boatbird of paradise) trim back to firm stem or to ground. Watch video:  “Freeze Remedy: Initial Assessments”
  2. Plants like salvia, plumbago, firecracker plant, and flax lily, trim down to within 4” from ground.
  3. Plants like ixora, duranta, schefflera, hibiscus, and bougainvillea:  scratch trunk and trim back to where you see green in the cambium layer of the trunk (maybe to ground). 
  4. Philodendron – Watch video:  “Freeze Remedy: How To Save Philodendrons”
  5. Palms – Watch video:  “Freeze Remedy: Palm Trees”
  6. Citrus– if you scratch a branch and there is no green underneath you can remove it, but no hurry. Keep any suckers that arise from below the graft cut off, they will grow fast but produce sour fruit. If your tree is frozen all the way to the graft, fertilize with Citrus Tone now, May 1st, and September 15th to promote plenty of healthy regrowth from freeze damage.

We know it looks bad but we are here to help you get your landscape back as best we can. We are bringing in new, healthy plants from California, Florida and all over Texas. Our Texas growers learned from the 80’s freezes how to protect plants. 

Thank you for your questions on our websiteFacebookInstagram, on the phone, and in person! We will continue creating videos as we see the need and as always, we’re open 7 days a week to help you with your garden!

31 Comments on “Steps You Need to Take to Help Your Damaged Plants and Lawn”

  1. Thanks James! I have 5 firebush that are in bad shape. They are only 4 feet tall now. How far back do these need to be cut if any?

      1. Wedelia and wandering jew that appeared dead, when cut back very short, revealed live runners on the ground. We hope the same for whatever you have.

  2. Is it possible Washingtonia palms are hardier and may have survived if grown right on the coast-ie: Rockport right next to the water?

  3. We have a Flamboyant Tree (Royal Poinciana) – it looks like what appears to be darkish brown sap coming from it. What might have happened to it and will it survive? Thanks.

  4. I purchased a Hanna Ray Bottle brush bush from y’all after Harvey (recovery therapy!) . it is 6ft tall, how do I prune? Cut to 6″ above ground or scratch bark till I find green and cut just above the green?
    I also bought a lime tree at the same time. If I understand your advice, wait to see the sprouts and prune down to them.
    I sure hope they make it, I love them both. The limes are DE-licious…I miss them.

  5. All bottlebrush I have checked are dead to the ground, surprised me. Citrus response to the freeze is not totally apparent yet, so yes maybe wait a little longer.

    1. Tops are surely dead, probably base too, for sure dead if in pots. Just wait, and then trim to live sprouts, or toss.

  6. James, what about creeping fig? Mine is all brown and crispy but some of the larger branch scratch green. Can you also share your suggestions on a variety of bamboos?

    1. Fig ivy is hard to tell, you could trim closer to the wall to remove brown, then see how much regrowth you get. If not enough, then pull it off the wall and cut, and let it regrow from the base. Bamboo also hard to tell, I am waiting to see new foliage higher on the canes, if I don’t get that I will trim the canes shorter.

  7. You replied that a Royal Poinciana is dead to the ground if it has brown sap coming out of it. Should it be cut down completely then?

  8. James,
    How short should Oleanders be cut back? Should they survive?
    Thank you, Courtney

    1. Oleanders will likely be dead close to the ground, I have seen only one exception to this. So scratch test but be prepared to cut to 12″ to 18″ tall

  9. James,

    Since Bottlebrush are dead to the ground, at what height from the ground should they be cut? Or should they be removed?


  10. I have cut back my Bird of Paradise and covered when watering so not to encourage fungus. I am now seeing sprouts. How long do I need to cover plant when watering?

  11. I have two Norfolk pine that are about ten feet tall. Totally brown and shedding in high winds. They also have sap draining. Thoughts.

  12. I have two Norfolk pine that are about ten feet tall. Totally brown and shedding in high winds. They also have sap draining. How should I treat?

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