It was a slow death for my springtime's worth of work this past weekend. Despite my best efforts Mother Nature and her sub-freezing temperatures took their toll on my flower beds and yard.

A lot of my neighbors are in the same boat. Where once was nice bright green foliage and flowers is a wilted mass of something you might find at the bottom of your vegetable bin in the refrigerator.

Are they dead? Can they be saved?

LSU AgCenter Horticulturist Dan Gill tells the Louisiana Radio Network that the milder temperatures forecast for this week could be a blessing in terms of plant recovery. The first thing you'll want to do is give your plants some time to see if they've actually succumbed to the cold or if there is still some life left in them.

Sometimes damage takes a while to actually show up, sometimes plants that look like they may be possibly damaged recover and the damage isn’t really there. So give it five to seven days.

Going by that timetable you should have a better idea of what's going to make it and what needs to go curbside or compost.

Once you've determined the plants worth saving it's time to get out the pruning shears and do some clipping. A lot of tropical plants will turn to oozy mush on their damaged parts. Just clip that back to where you see the stalks and stems more firm and lifelike.

With the woody tropicals, we may just leave them alone until spring comes around and those woody tropicals begin to spread out from their parts that are still alive, you can clearly see what’s dead and not sprouting.

One test you can perform on woody tropical plants is to scratch the bark with your fingernail. If the tissue underneath is green then the plant is still alive. If it's turned brown then that part of the plant is dead.


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