Expert offers advice after extreme weather threatens local landscaping

Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Warm weather in January and a harsh winter storm in February are causing many to wonder if their trees and bushes will survive.

Vikram Baliga, Texas Tech University Greenhouse and Horticultural gardens manager, says with the combination of extreme temperature fluctuations this year and a dry 2020, he’s expecting plants to see a lot of damage. But he also says don’t panic yet.

“If it looks like towards the end of April, we’re not getting good foliage or leaves on our plants, they’re not flowering or doing the things that they normally do, that’s when we might start to get concerned and look at different ways that we can help them along,” Baliga said.

He says a scratch test on your tree’s bark can help.

If the tree is green underneath, he says you’re fine. But where you start to see brown or white, start trimming.

Right now, the best thing people can do is keep their plants well-watered.

He says for trees once a week is enough.

“But we want to water heavily. Don’t just like run your lawn sprinklers and assume that’s going to be enough for your trees. You want to be watering them separately through drip lines or hoses, whatever else,” Baliga added.

Baliga says spring weeds are already coming up, so now’s the time to either pull them or use a chemical treatment.

“So, we want to make sure that our lawns and landscapes are as clean as we can get them, reasonably, at this time of year and your plants that you actually want to have will be much happier for it,” Baliga said.

He recommends waiting a few weeks to prune and shear hedges and to hold off on fertilizer until after Mother’s Day.

There’s always a chance for a late freeze and Baliga warns against starting new growth before that can happen.

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