• April 14, 2021

GARDENING: Polar vortex hinders recovery - Odessa American: Gardening

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GARDENING: Polar vortex hinders recovery

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Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2021 12:45 am

The polar vortex brought freezing temperatures to our area for an extended period. This sadly means that many of our plant life will not make a comeback after this. The stress was too great for too long and there is not enough moisture or time between our scorching hot summer to give them time to recover. In about two weeks you will be able to make a fair judgement of what is dead tissue and what may still be able to produce fruit and flowers. At this time, you can trim back the dead tissue.

When the freezing temperatures hit the water inside a plant freezes, it causes ice crystals to form that pierce through the cell walls of the plant. When the temperature warms up, the cells leak out their fluids and die and turn to mush. If you had pipes freeze and burst when the thaw came this is what happened to your plants leaves. The freeze damage will appear first as dark, water soaked looking tissue which turns brown or black and dries up.

Sadly, there is not much to be done except wait according to AgriLife Extension specialist Larry Stein. Look at this as a time to revamp your garden and look into planting more flowers and trees as the warmer temperatures approach and the seasons last freeze passes around April.

For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland, email jeanette.castanon@ag.tamu.edu or visit aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu or westtexasgardening.org.

Odessa, TX

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