Your garden is freezing, what do you do now? Texas A&M experts answer your questions

Before freezing, gardenias grow in the Bel Air garden. The recent winter snow and freezing temperatures may mean that gardenia bushes will not bloom this year.
The fig ivy, or climbing fig, is a beautiful vine plant. Even if yours is damaged in the recent freezing, it may re-grow from its roots underground.
Fig ivy is a good vine that can grow on brick or stucco houses or wooden fences. Many have been damaged in recent winter weather, but easily bounce back from underground roots.
John Stokes, who has lived in Houston for a long time, asked about the damaged fig ivy vines in his brick home. Experts said that the damaged vines should be cut and removed in sections, and then the plants should re-grow from the base of the ground.
Fig ivy is a good vine that can grow on brick or stucco houses or wooden fences. Many have been damaged in recent winter weather, but easily bounce back from underground roots.
The scratches on the bark of the small branches of the Meyer lemon tree show fresh green flesh underneath, which indicates that the tree is still alive.
In this San Antonio residence, the long aspidistra leaves contrast sharply with the small fig ivy leaves that wrap the swimming pool and hot tub.
Farmer Russ Studebaker investigated a batch of Fire Zest peach trees to be picked in Stonewall, Texas on Thursday, April 20, 2017. Almost central Texas stood up this winter, and evidence will soon be revealed in the sluggish mountain peach crop this summer. Due to the lack of a sufficient amount of "cold time", buds appear very early, and varieties that are often prepared later in the season almost end the season. "I'm very happy that we have some peaches," said Lars Studebaker, who has grown peaches for a long time, and estimates that there is a 30% harvest. The overall demand for peaches this year is high, because the cold weather that missed the Texas orchard severely affected the peach crops in Georgia and Carolina. (Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News)
Peach farmer Jamie Vogel picks peaches from his tree on his family farm near Stonewall, Texas. The family has grown about 20 types of peaches and they have been growing there since 1953.
I scratched the bark of the prolific Meyer lemon tree, and my heart jumped when I saw the green flesh below. The leaves are brown, drooping and falling, but I have hope.
I am not an avid gardener, but I like to have a beautiful yard. Therefore, when residents of like-minded areas began to ask questions about one plant or another via email, I turned to experts for answers.
Two Texas A&M extension staff—Larry Stein, a gardening professor, and Brandy Keller, who coordinated the Harris County Master Gardener Program—answered our first questions after the freeze.
If you have questions, please send them along with the photos, and we will report the answers in the future Saturday Gardening Story.
Question: I have lived at home for 45 years, and I have removed all the fig ivy after freezing on a large area twice. I am getting older and older, so I want to know if I need to remove it all again or if it will fall off on its own? Will it re-germinate and re-grow from the basic plants underground?
A: The fig ivy (Ficus pumila) is an evergreen vine that can actively grow on walls, fences or flat ground, Keller said. As a strong adhesion vine, its young stems will produce roots and root hairs. These roots and root hairs will produce a sticky substance that allows them to attach to cracks and surfaces. The older part of the stem becomes woody and less clinging.
The severe cold may kill some of the vines or kill them all back to the ground. Wait a few weeks to see where it sprouts, then remove it in segments by cutting and removing as many stems as possible. Let it dry, then carefully scrape off the roots. If the vines die, they will not fall off on their own.
Question: The leaves of my gardenia bush are brown and withered, but when I scratch the bark below, it is still green. Should I remove dead leaves? What do I hope for my bushes to survive?
Answer: Gardenias are not hardy, and temperatures below 20 degrees will kill some or all of the above-ground plants, Keller said. Damage may be seen now, with brown leaves, or it may appear later, such as the stems dry and die. The scratch test is a good indicator of live wood, let us hope that nothing is lost, but there may be some damage. It is better to wait for it, see where the new growth appears, and then prune from there. Don't expect to bloom this year.
At the same time, prune broken branches and keep the soil moist, but not too wet. If the plants did not need fertilizer before freezing, they do not need it now. If you use it, please use it after fully regenerating it. In many cases, what a freeze-damaged plant really needs is our patience.
Q: In Washington County, I am worried that I have lost the peach crop. I want to know what will happen to our wild blackberry bushes?
A: Stein said that a closer look at the peach blossoms in the area will reveal that some look very good. If your trees are completely dormant, they may still bear fruit. If the tree is pushing buds and flowers, then these buds and flowers are probably dead. Varieties will play an important role in the production of peach trees and stone fruit trees.
Stein said that as for wild blackberries, these plants are dormant, so if the plants are healthy, you should still harvest them this year. If you had a big harvest last year, it may affect this year's harvest. In short, when a plant depletes all its food reserves, severe cold can actually kill it because it does not store enough carbohydrates to protect itself from the cold. Stein said, I am cautiously optimistic about your next blackberry crop.
A: Yes, we will have wildflowers because most of them are still curled up like rosettes, Stan said. Anything that begins to form flowering spikes will freeze a bit, but they will rebound.
Answer: Your pecan tree should be fine, Stan said. Similarly, if your pecan harvest last year was large, it may have a greater impact on your potential harvest than cold.
Send gardening questions to and attach photos of the plants or questions you are asking about.
Diane Cowen has been working for the Houston Chronicle since 2000 and is currently its architecture and home design writer. Before working for Chronicle, she worked at South Bend (Ind.) Tribune and Shelbyville (Ind.) News. She graduated from Purdue University and is the author of a cookbook, "Sunday Dinner: The Food, Family, and Faith of Our Favorite Pastor."

Post time: Sep-07-2021