We almost had a White Christmas this year, which would have been a miracle for this part of Texas! The weatherman said it might snow a little on the night of Thursday, December 7, but it wouldn’t stick, it would be gone as soon as it touched the ground. So everyone went out in the dark to take photos of snow!
Next morning there was snow everywhere – the roads were clear, but the grass and the plants were still white. No ice on the pond though.
Snow like this is a good insulator for plants, as can be a coating of ice. The real damage to plants comes when the air is dry, the wind is blowing, and the temperature is frigid. The moisture and life is sucked out of the plants through the leaves and stems, and many plants will die back to the ground. If we are lucky, they will sprout back from the roots in the spring.
As a general rule, don’t cut your seemingly “dead” shrubs back too soon. By doing so, you can expose the tender tissue of the lower stems to another freeze, should one happen, and they won’t have a chance of survival. Best to wait until after all danger of frost is past, even though you might have a brown and dead looking landscape. This pear tree survived an ice storm (in 2014) and produced a huge crop of pears that summer.
This day, January 2, 2018, we are experiencing our second day of temperatures in the low-to-mid twenties (Fahrenheit), with only a couple of hours in forty-eight above freezing. Flowering shrubs such as Duranta, Mexican Turks Cap and Esperanza are looking beyond help, and we still have two more days of the same in the forecast. They should not be pruned at this time. The black and slimy leaves of Cannas, however, can be cut down to the ground – you can’t kill a Canna!!
And through snow and ice, the spring flowering bulbs are poking through and some are even blooming! No matter how hard the winter, spring always follows!