With the mercury dropping in South Central Texas, it’s time to focus on “winterizing” plants and possibly selecting more cold-hardy plants for gardens.
Cover more delicate or susceptible plants and trees with a cloth sheet, burlap or insulated cover.
“Don’t put a plastic cover directly on the plant as it will not allow the plant to breathe, and direct contact with the plastic when it freezes can cause the leaves to burn,” said David Rodriguez. “However, you can put a plastic cover over another breathable layer.
“For trees, wrap a sheet or some burlap around the trunk and cover the top with a sheet or other insulated cover designed to be used on trees. Make sure the covers are securely fastened so the wind doesn’t blow them off.”
He also suggested providing additional insulation by placing at least a 2-inch layer of mulch or mulch with compost, also known as “living” mulch, at least 2 inches away from the base of a tree or plant.
He also noted that very cold or freezing temperatures serve as a natural desiccant for leaves, so when plants lose leaves during this time of year it is not necessarily a bad thing.
Rodriguez said this time of year it is best to plant long-term, frost-tolerant vegetables such as beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, collard greens, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, spinach and turnips.
“There are still plenty of opportunities to plant in this region at this time of year,” he said. “Just be sure to do a little homework before you put anything into the ground.”
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