You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Preparing South Central Texas landscapes for Old Man Winter
By Paul Schattenberg
SAN ANTONIO -- With temperatures dropping and the winter solstice upon us, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert has some suggestions on protecting South Central Texas landscapes from the icy fingers of Old Man Winter.
“In dealing effectively with South Central Texas winters, one fact that should be taken into account is that there is no such thing as a ‘typical winter,’” said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Bexar County. “But stable winter weather patterns do exist, and these are helpful in establishing a plan of action for ‘winterizing’ outdoor landscapes.”
He said landscape winterizing actions should include:
•Moving container plants away from areas of wind exposure, especially from the north wind. Locate them indoors or in exterior areas with some type of overhead cover, e.g., covered patios, or under eaves or trees.
“Tender and tropical plants should be moved into a greenhouse or other suitable protected areas,” he said. “If your house has adequate light and other conditions favorable to plant survival, it will make a good winter storage area. If conditions are unsuitable, or space is a limiting factor, place your containers and baskets near the garage door or a similar area where they can be easily moved inside during freezing weather.”
•Before freezing temperatures occur, water the landscape thoroughly.
“Water displaces the air in the soil interspaces,” Rodriguez said. “Water is much slower to cool than air, so moist ground stays warmer than dry ground. Besides, there’s less humidity this time of year and people simply often forget their plants need water in the late fall and winter as well.”
•Smaller, less cold-tolerant plants can be wrapped with burlap, blankets, newspapers, or similar suitable materials if extreme conditions prevail.
“Covering or wrapping plants with plastic film can be more harmful than the cold.” Rodriguez said. “Used alone, plastics cause wide temperature fluctuations from day to night. Plastic holds very little heat at night, but creates a lot of heat when the sun is out. Use plastic film only in conjunction with other wrapping materials and remove it during sunny days when temperatures are above freezing for best results.”
However, he added, plastic film is excellent for covering greenhouses, protecting frames, and for man-made windscreens.
•Don’t fertilize in the late fall, especially with high-nitrogen fertilizer.
“Use as little nitrogen as possible, because it will cause new and tender growth to occur,” he said. “If you are going to fertilize this late in the year, use a high phosphorus and potassium fertilizer that will help to thicken cell walls and stimulate more sugar and carbohydrate production within the plant. This acts somewhat like antifreeze in your car radiator. Consider using a 6-2-4 or 4-2-3 analysis when feeding your landscape shrubs and trees in the fall.”
Paul Schattenberg is a communications specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Bermuda grass stem maggot spreads in Texas (July 29, 2015)
Floresville FFA members receive degrees, Walrath scholarship (July 29, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 29, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 29, 2015)
Roses suffer from heat (July 29, 2015)
Senate, House spending bills signal support for industry (July 29, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 29, 2015)
Texas farmer to lead corn group (July 29, 2015)
Time to prepare for hurricane season (July 29, 2015)
‘Where Does Our Food Come From?’ (July 29, 2015)
Crow is 15th in the nation (July 22, 2015)
Have you seen a Texas horned lizard? (July 22, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 22, 2015)
Landscaping picks (July 22, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 22, 2015)
Offices issue receipts (July 22, 2015)
Recent rains — fewer grasshoppers! (July 22, 2015)
Stallman announces departure in January (July 22, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 22, 2015)
Benefits of the Chinese pistache (July 15, 2015)
Cattle market outlook, trends short course (July 15, 2015)
Conservation assistance online for landowners, users (July 15, 2015)
Crouch Memorial Bull Riding is July 25 (July 15, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 15, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 15, 2015)
Mischief-maker transforms into equine world champion (July 15, 2015)
TDA Market (July 15, 2015)
Wardens investigate alligator attack (July 15, 2015)
Ag-Pro continues John Deere tradition (July 8, 2015)
Cattlemen, Floresville FFA unite (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 8, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 8, 2015)
Locals attend conference (July 8, 2015)
Much of peach crop excellent quality, quantity (July 8, 2015)
Nomination period open for farm committee (July 8, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 8, 2015)
Things farmers do when it rains (July 8, 2015)
Two-part water conservation landscaping workshop in SA (July 8, 2015)
U.S. cattle herd safety threatened by Brazilian beef importation? (July 8, 2015)
West Nile virus vaccine in horses (July 8, 2015)
Will new driveway affect live oak? (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 1, 2015)
July 2015 Gardening Calendar (July 1, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 1, 2015)
Native anaqua is a tasty treat for wildlife (July 1, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 1, 2015)
Texas railway raises concerns on eminent domain (July 1, 2015)
Third time's a charm for Buck Taylor roping (July 1, 2015)