San Antonio/ Parks & Nature
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Published on January 19, 2024
New York Plant Enthusiasts Urged to Hold Off on Gardening Post-FreezeSource: Unsplash/ Annie Spratt

For New Yorkers with green thumbs, the recent freeze might have you worried about your shriveled garden, but don't reach for the shovel just yet. After a week of arctic temperatures, there's a chance those seemingly lifeless plants aren't quite ready to push up daisies. KSAT advises against making any hasty decisions, suggesting your leafy friends might just be in a dormant state, waiting patiently for a spring revival.

That said, some botanical casualties are more probable than others. Tropicals like Bougainvillea and freshly planted Plumeria are on the critical list especially if left out in the cold without cover, as reported by KSAT. Potted plants are another high-risk group, although those brought indoors are likely to survive the frosty ordeal. If your plants fall under the 'probably still kicking' category, patience is key. Hold off on any pruning urges – jumping the gun could do more harm to potentially come back plants – until the chances of another freeze have well and truly thawed out.

How do you tell if a garden is down for the count or just playing possum? A scratch test can reveal a lot, according to KSAT. Green under the bark means there's hope yet and your plant might just sprout anew when temperatures climb. Garlic growers need not despair, either. Those limp shoots are deceiving; they play a pivotal role underground, setting the stage for a robust spring comeback. Experts at KHOU 11 echo similar sentiments, instructing to avoid pruning, as it "sends a signal to the plants to promote new growth, and we're not at that time yet."

When assessing damage, there's an important distinction between the dormant and the deceased. "Pull out any plants that look slimy or mushy to prevent fungal disease," experts told KHOU 11. It seems it's all about biding your time and implementing the right care at the right moment. As for watering, the roots should be the focus, not the leaves – a tip especially worth noting as the urban jungle slowly shakes off the winter chill.

For those who've developed a sentimental attachment to their photosynthetic pals, fear not. The sagging Sago Palms have a good shot at bouncing back if the crown remains firm, suggests KSAT. The real verdict on your garden's fate will likely present itself between March and early May. So before making any funereal plans for your compost bin, take these expert tips and give your greenery the fighting chance it deserves.