Early Freezes Can Cause Cosmetic Plant Damage
The abrupt cold temperatures of this past week reminded us winter is coming to East Texas. We weren’t ready for it, and neither were the plants. An optimal fall condition for plants is a gentle change to cooler temperatures which allows them to acclimate and “harden off” before freezing weather arrives.
Due to the warm weather we’ve been experiencing, most plants have been actively growing. These freezing temps can damage any tender new growth on your shrubs, but nothing that will cause long term damage. Don’t be alarmed though– your shrub is fine.
Any cosmetic damage will show up as blackened leaves as the affected tissue dies over the next few days or loss of flowers if it was blooming. You can snip off the affected leaves or let them fall off on their own.
Tropical plants and most warm seasonal annuals are usually not able to survive prolonged periods of freezing temperatures and could have received a lethal blow.
This freeze could put most perennials to sleep until spring and can change ornamental grass from green to a straw color. Depending on the plant variety will determine whether you trim or cut it back.
Your cool season annuals (pansies, ornamental cabbage/kale, dusty miller, etc.) will do just fine. You may experience some loss of flowers but they will be blooming strongly again very quickly.