Due to all the recent rains, this has created over-watering problems for your trees, shrubs and turf.  If your trees and plants are yellow and if you are experiencing disease problems on your plants, the abundance of rain is contributing to these problems.    Turn your irrigation controller off if you have not already done so and leave it in the off position until the rain stops and your yard has completely dried out.  Below are some important irrigation facts about water usage for your landscape. 

Fact 1 – Water Efficient Landscaping:  The landscaping of your home is a major part of the overall plan of the community.  Plants on the approved plant list are water efficient, well adapted, native Texas plants that perform well in north Texas climatic conditions.   Planting techniques such as soil preparation, drip and spray irrigation and mulching are designed to provide optimum plant growth with reduced irrigation.  Reducing water use in the landscape is a vital part of the overall planning, design and strategy for  residents.

Fact 2 – Water and Oxygen:  All plants need water and oxygen in the root zone to survive.  It is important to balance the use of adequate water for plant growth but also allow time for soil to breath between watering so soil does not become water-logged.  In Texas, more plants are killed from overwatering rather than not enough water.

 Fact 3 – Watering Needs:  Plant water needs vary depending on direct sun exposure, amount of shade, temperature, humidity, wind, soil and rain.  The best way to determine water needs is to watch for plant stress – wilting of leaves and/or yellowing of leaves.  You can also determine water needs by probing the soil to a depth of 2 to 4 inches with your fingers to check for soil moisture. 

Fact 4 – Optimum Water Use:  It is best to water in the early morning hours to avoid plant disease and when water loss through evaporation is minimal.  Do not water between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.  When watering, apply water with multiple run times to avoid runoff into streets.   Water as infrequently as possible, but water thoroughly at each application.  Soak the soil to encourage deep root system growth to help plants better tolerate drought conditions and stress due to hot temperatures.  Well rooted plants will use water efficiently stored in the soil.

Fact 5 – Watering of New Landscape:  How new plants are watered will affect how plants survive.  Water guidelines for new plantings should be as follows:

·        Thoroughly water plants after planting.

·        Make sure all plantings are mulched to reduce evaporation of water from around root balls. 

·        Water all newly planted landscaping every other day for the first four weeks.  Run times will vary in each yard due to location and amount of sun or shade.  Soils should be kept moist to a depth of 6 to 12 inches or throughout the root zone for plant establishment.   

·        Transition watering from every other day to two times per week after 4 weeks.  Transition to watering for established landscape as soon as possible.

Fact 6 – Watering of Established Landscape:  Water guidelines for established plantings should be as follows:

·        Turn off your irrigation system during periods of rain.

·        Landscape water use depends upon the climatic conditions and soil moisture.

·        Replenish mulch yearly to reduce evaporation and water use around root systems and planting beds.

·        Water so soil is moist to a depth of 6 to 12 inches so plants are more resilient to drought conditions and stress due to hot temperatures.

·        Check irrigation settings and soil moisture throughout the year and make adjustments as needed depending on plant’s water needs.  

·        Refer to following chart for monthly Controller Settings and Run Times.


The irrigation system will be switched to OFF position October through May and the following run times in those months will only apply during periods of drought.

These suggested settings and run times are general guidelines and may need to be adjusted for individual landscape conditions, soils, rainfall and climatic conditions.  Run times can be broken into multiple run times to prevent runoff.


Run Times

Controller Setting


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run one time every 2 weeks


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run one time every 2 weeks


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run one time every 7-10 days


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run one time every 7-10 days


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 1 or 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 1 or 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 1 or 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 1 or 2 times per week


Spray Heads – 12 -20 minutes

Rotor Heads – 30-45 minutes

Bubbler Heads – 5-10 minutes

Drip – 30-45 minutes

Set to run 1 time every 2 weeks

Note:  The above guidelines are suggestions for a starting point.  Continue to monitor your soil by probing for adequate soil moisture.  If you experience wet or dry areas in your yard, adjust your irrigation system accordingly.   Natural rainfall will affect these guidelines. 

Boo Baskets: You've Been Booed!!!

Boo baskets start this Monday, October 1 so keep an eye on your front door!!!  Getting "boo-ed" is a fun Halloween tradition where a neighbor will leave a fun basket of goodies on another neighbor's door step.  There will be a note on what to do next after you get "boo-ed".  Make sure to share all your fun pics on the private Homeowners Facebookpage.  See below for the print outs in case you need them.  Have fun!!!

Below is what to do once you have been booed! Please make sure to print this sheet AND the We’ve Been Booed sign to place in the basket when you boo someone. Once you’ve been booed, post the sign on your window or door immediately so prevent double booing and to help spread the boo love!

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They are back!  Fall armyworms are marching across Texas and feeding in your turf areas and on many other plants.  They are called armyworms because of the size of the infestations and the way they eat their way across an area.  After hatching, the newly emerged larvae start immediately eating.  The caterpillars range in color from shades of brown, to gray to green or yellow-green.  Distinguishing characteristics are a whitish inverted i between the eyes and whitish strips on the head.  They appear first on the tips of the grass blades and if not detected, they eat through the grass.  Initial damage resembles drought but on closer inspection, you can tell the grass has been defoliated with only stems remaining and you can see the caterpillars.

To control, apply a liquid or granular turf insecticide that has armyworms on the label and can be purchased from any of the local garden shops.  The liquid control can be applied with a hose on sprayer. The granular product can be spread with a fertilizer spreader.   Products to look for include Ortho Bug B Gon (liquid or granular), Spectracide Insect Killer for Lawns (granular or liquid), Sevin (liquid or granular) or for organic control, apply Neem Oil or Bacillus Thurengiensis  (BT).  Follow all label instructions when applying.  If these armyworms are eating your vegetable garden, make sure to use a product labeled for use on vegetables.

If damage is present, after treating, go ahead and fertilize to encourage recovery.

These armyworms eat and move through an area quickly, so be on alert!



Now along comes another lawn-eating insect – grubworms.  This insect is stealthier because it is working under your turf.  Grubworms are the larvae stage of that late spring, early summer, pesky June beetle that swarms around your lights.  When you see them spinning on the ground, they are actually working their way down into the soil through the grass so they can lay their eggs.  These eggs hatch and turn into root-eating grubworms.  As they eat their way through your lawn, the grass turns brown because the grubs have eaten the roots.  If grubworms are present, you can walk across your lawn and feel it slipping under your feet, much like newly laid sod.  In fact, you can reach down and pull up your sod just like it was new. 

For control of grubworms, apply a granular lawn grub control product.  There are several on the market and that can be purchased at your local garden supply store.  Follow all label directions when applying.  If you have not yet fertilized your turf, do so now to help with recovery from the damage.  If the rain stops, water your lawn to help it regrow roots before it goes into dormancy. 

For some of you this has been a double whammy with the armyworms and grubworms.  The good news is that they can be controlled.  Continue to monitor your turf and treat when you find these pests!

grub worms.jpg


GARDENING BY THE MOON: Fall Landscape Activities

October is a good month for working on your landscape.  The weather is cooler and more inviting to do some needed annual chores without suffering a heat stroke!. 


Now is the time to add mulch to your shrub beds and tree wells to help control weeds and conserve moisture for your plants during the winter cold, dehydrating winds.  There are many different kinds of mulch and I know everyone has a preference.  My preference is the brown dyed mulch.  It holds up very well in the landscape and it keeps color longer for a fresher appearance.  In bare bed areas, add 2 inches of mulch and in areas where you already have mulch, add no more than 1 inch.  Treat with a pre-emergent weed control after mulching to help prevent weeds in the spring.  You can apply Preem, Pendimethalin, or Halts.  Apply as per label and remember, you cannot grow seeded plants in the areas where a pre-emergent has been applied. 

Removing Dead Wood from Trees and Shrubs

Before leaf drop, remove all dead wood from your trees and shrubs.  Use a razor saw for large branch removal.  If branches are higher in the tree, use a pole pruner.   Hand pruners can be used for small branch removal.  Make all cutes even or at the shoulder of the branch.  Absolutely do not leave stubs when removing branches.  Also do not tear the bark when pruning.

dr moon october.jpg

Tree Fertilization

Fertilize trees with a granular fertilizer.  Apply ¼ to ½ pound of fertilizer per inch trunk diameter.  Spread the fertilizer evening from trunk of tree to 3 feet past the drip line of the tree.  Water fertilizer in after applying.

Tech Talks with Brazoria County Sheriff's Department

Last weekend Brazoria County Sheriff's Department came to our community and discussed how to be aware of new technology apps that might have "hidden" agendas.  Click on the button below to see the full presentation.  Should you have any questions, you are welcome to contact Investigator Kent Nielsen at


In your lawn and beds, you may be thinking that because we are heading into fall, pesky
weeds will not be a problem. This is a big mistake! Weeds that are a problem in the spring
and early summer, are still in the soil in the fall just waiting to germinate again this fall and
start growing vigorously in the spring. Dandelion and henbit are two of the biggest culprits.

The best way to prevent these weeds next year is to apply a pre-emergent weed control
between September 15 and October 15 in your turf and bed areas.
If you follow the below schedule for pre-emergent weed control and fertilization, you will
eventually win the battle with weeds and your weed problem will lessen.
September 15 – Apply a pre-emergent weed control such as Preen or Halts to beds and turf
February 15 – (I know it is winter but this is still important!) Apply a pre-emergent weed
control such as Preen or Halts to beds and turf areas.
May 15 - Apply a pre-emergent weed control such as Preen or Halts to beds and turf areas.

If you have any breakthrough weeds in your turf, you can treat with Weed Control for
Southern Grasses. Just follow the label recommendations for rates and timing. For bed
areas, hand remove any residual weeds.
Fertilize your turf and beds 4 times per year to encourage healthy, vigorous growth of your
plant materials. Use a slow-release fertilizer that has a high first number on the fertilizer
All the above materials can be purchased at a local garden store, Home Depot or Lowes.
Don’t give up the fight! You can win by following the above guidelines.

Weed control dr moon.JPG


All the recent heat advisories have not only been hard for each of us, but those high temperatures have been creating harsh conditions for all of your trees, shrubs, container plants and turf.  All plants respond to this by using more water.  To counteract these harsh conditions for your plant material and especially if you have new plantings, is to provide extra water!

Hand watering can be a very effective way of adding extra water effeciently to your plants.  You can add water only where needed without wasting a large volume of water.  Focus on watering trees, shrubs and container plantings first.  Respond by adding extra water as soon as you see wilting or you observe the first sign of burned leaves to prevent leaf scorch. 

Turf can tolerate and recover from drought easier than your other plants but even hand watering can benefit turf if you have the patience to stand out in your yard with a water hose and provide extra water.

Good luck!  There can be another 6 to 8 weeks of this hot weather, but fall is coming with cooler weather, hopefully.  However, this is Texas!!!


Cardboard Boat Race Boat Building Basics

If you are reading this you are considering the challenge of entering the Pomona Cardboard Boat Race! Be sure to check out the list of allowed materials before beginning construction. Other than that, we encourage you to get creative, both with your design and your decorations or theme. Remember we have four awards: Speed, Design/Creativity, Team Spirit, and the Titanic (for the best and most dramatic sinking) award. Most of all: HAVE FUN!!

CONSTRUCTION Allowed Materials

·         Corrugated cardboard from appliance or grocery stores

·         Cardboard “blocks” from furniture stores

·         Cardboard tubes from carpet/linoleum stores

·         Fastening material - Duct or masking tape, Liquid nails adhesive, Latex paint, varnish

Materials NOT Allowed

·         Wood

·         Styrofoam

·         Plastic sheathing

·         Sona-tubes or coated cardboard

·         Silicone, wax or tar

·         Caulking Compounds

·         Metal

·         Staple, clamps or screws

The entire boat must be built of cardboard o Only exceptions are the paddles and decorations o Decorations are allowed – as long as they don’t affect structural strength or buoyancy • Use cardboard boxes, “blocks” or carpet tubes • No pre-treated cardboard allowed • No wood, plastic, or fiberglass • No caulking compounds or two-part/mixed adhesives • No wrapping in duct tape, plastic or fiberglass • Waterproof the boat with varnish, paint or polyurethane • The crew compartment cannot be enclosed • Every crew member must wear a life jacket • Costumes are allowed to enhance your theme

DESIGN TIPS Set your goal: Design, Speed, Looks, all three??? Sketch out your design Flat bottoms, sit-to-paddle, are the easiest Rudders help keep you straight but make turning difficult and add complexity to your design Long boats go fast but are harder to turn Short boats are difficult to keep straight Reinforce the area where you sit or kneel Best Length: 8-12 feet Best Height: 18”

Cardboard Boat Races 055.jpg


The following perennials, annuals and ornamental grasses will add color and interest to your yard and garden this summer. 


1.      Lavender – Hardy perennial in the mint family providing deep purple color,  blooms spring to fall, grows 12-18 inches in height, thrives in full sun, fragrance is a deterrent to small rodents

2.      Pink Skullcap – Hardy perennial with small leaves and pink flowers; blooms spring to fall, grows 8 to 10 inches in height, loves the Texas sun and is drought resistant, great in rock gardens or as a border planting

3.      Turk’s Cap – Hardy perennial that is heat and drought resistant, small red flowers in summer through fall, can grow up to 3 feet in height, attractive butterflies

4.      Salvia ‘May Night’ or ‘Rose Marvel’ – Hardy perennial that is heat and drought resistant, this variety has deep purple blooms with silvery gray foliage, blooms summer to fall, attractive to butterflies and resistant to rabbits

5.      Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ – Native Texas perennial, Goldsturm is a compact variety of Black-eyed Susan, loves the sun, deep gold daisy-like bloom with brown center, blooms throughout the summer, grows up to 3 feet in height, showy color for mass planting or planted with other perennials

Honorable Mentions:  Butterfly Bush, Lantana, Katie Ruellia, Purple Coneflower,  Autumn Joy Sedum, Angelina Sedum, Russian Sage


1.      Angelonia – Vigorous grower in Texas sun, drought resistant, spiky bloom comes in a variety of colors from white to purple and can be planted as a mix, grows 12 to 14 inches in height, blooms summer into fall

2.      Cora Vinca – Flowers profusely from summer into fall, comes in many solid colors and mixes, mounds to a height of 12 to 14 inches, Cora variety is resistant to root disease

3.      Scaevola – Heat and drought tolerant, blooms can be pink, purple or white, low growing so great as a border planting or spilling over the edge of a container

4.      Zinnia – This hardy annual comes in a variety of colors mixes and heights depending upon variety, east to grow and always a favorite in the Texas garden, blooms summer into fall

5.      Mandevilla or Dipladenia – Beautiful and graceful vining annual, blooms can be white, pink or red, great for planting in beds, containers or fences, needs some protection from late afternoon sun

Honorable Mentions:  Marigolds, Salvia, Hibiscus, Pentas, Portulaca (Rose Moss)


1.      Foxtail or Asparagus Fern– Foxtail fern adds a spiky green interest  and Asparagus fern adds a wispy green interest to the landscape when mixed with colorful annuals or perennials, vigorous grower, moderately drought tolerant

2.      Strapleaf Caladiums – Strapleaf varieties can be planted in sun areas, variety of leaf colors, can be planted from bulbs in early summer

3.      Sweet Potato Vine – Vigorous grower that will require trimming, thrives in Texas sun and very drought resistant, lime green and deep purple foliage makes a big impact in the landscape for few dollars

4.      Sun Coleus – Easy to grow annual that also provides impact to your landscape for few dollars, for sun areas plant the sun varieties, offers stunning colored foliage in a variety of colors

5.      Purple Fountain Grass – Great background plant due to 3’ height, provides graceful purple foliage with a lighter purple bloom, requires little maintenance

Honorable Mentions:  Dianella (Flax Lily), Persian Shield, Creeping Jenny, Licorice Plant


1.      Miscanthus – This grass is a hardy perennial that his both heat and drought resistant, narrow green or variegated leaves, blooms make a bold fall statement in the landscape, grows up to 3 feet in height

2.      Mexican Feather Grass – This grass is both heat and drought resistant, wispy green color in the spring turning to a golden brown in the fall, easy to grow and requires little maintenance, grows up to 2 feet in height

3.      Muhly Grass – Hardy perennial that is heat and drought resistant, Regal Mist variety provides a beautiful, feathery pink bloom in the fall, easy to grow with little maintenance required, can grow up to 4 feet in height

4.      Inland Sea Oats – Hardy perennial grows well in shade, partial sun or sun areas, oat-like seed heads turn brown during summer and fall, birds enjoy eating seed heads, can grow up to 2 feet in height

5.      Blue Love Grass – Hardy Texas perennial that is very drought tolerant, blue, narrow, foliage and tan seed heads provide interest throughout the year; grows up to 2 feet in height


New Officer Positions for PTAB

Join me in congratulating our 2018-2019 officer positions for the Pomona Teen Advisory Board!!!

President: Kaley Watson
Vice President: Jacob Johnson
Historian: Trinity Grays
Secretary: Ava Vasquez

congrats colorful.jpg


The newly planted trees at Pomona need special care to encourage health and vigor. 

Newly Planted Trees:

·         Fertilize to encourage root growth that in turn creates healthy branch and leaf growth.  Even though you are fertilizing your lawn, fertilize the newly planted trees for the first 3 years and even longer if trees are not growing vigorously.    Fertilize these trees 3 times per year with Milorganite Fertilizer 6-4-0.  This fertilizer is a slow release fertilizer with 6% nitrogen that is 85% non-soluble.  It also contains 4% phosphorous, 2.5% iron and the calcium in the Milorganite helps to neutralize the sodium in alkaline soils.  Apply this fertilizer to new trees 3 times a year in February, May and August.  Apply ½ pound of the fertilizer per inch trunk diameter.  To determine diameter, measure your tree 6 inches above soil surface.  Spread the fertilizer evenly from the trunk of the tree out 2 feet past the drip line of the tree.

·         Newly planted trees that have been planted for a length of time have guy wires around the trunks that are cutting into the bark of the tree.   This can damage the trees so check any staked trees in your yard.  If you find the wires cutting into the bark, remove the wires before further damage occurs.  If guy wires are not causing a problem at this time, be aware and monitor often.  Newly planted trees grow quickly so these wires can become a problem quicker than you might think!

·         Remove dead wood from newly planted trees.  By keeping dead wood removed, you can better monitor the health of the tree by observing for more dead wood. 

·         Water newly planted trees as needed but do not overwater.  Water 1 time every 10 days in winter, 1 time every 7 days in fall and spring and 2 times every 7 days during the summer. 

Take special care of all of your trees.  They are important to the beauty of your landscape.  If you take care of your trees, they will pay you back with beauty and a shady retreat during the summer.

Gardening by the moon: STRUGGLING TURF!

Many of you have to be frustrated with the appearance of your turf this spring.  Our winter was not kind to many of our plant materials and it was also hard on turf.   Freeze damage on turf is causing a slow green-up this spring.  This winter, the quick change from warm weather to freezing temperatures with no time for a slow transition and then the length of the freeze, killed turf tissue.  Once that happens, it can take weeks and even months for the grass to recover. 

If your turf is brown and struggling, you need to put it on life support!  Once the cool night temperatures finally exit, the grass will begin to recover more quickly since it is a warm season grass. 

If there is 50 to 70 percent of your turf that is still green and trying to recover, control the weeds growing in the turf with a post-emergent weed control for southern grasses.  Fertilize the grass every 2 to 4 weeks for two applications with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to help the grass begin growing vigorously.  Nitrogen will be the first number on the fertilizer bag.  Once the grass greens up, cut back on the fertilizer to every 6 to 8 weeks for the rest of the growing season.  If you applied a pre-emergent weed control in February such as Preen or Halts, apply again in May and September.  This will protect the turf from weeds that will continue to germinate.  If you did not apply in February, apply now and then again in September.

If your turf has less than 50 percent green, recovery will take longer.  Fertilize and control weeds the same as above.  If you still have dead areas in your turf after following the above fertilization schedule, at the end of July or first of August, you may want to re-sod those areas that have not recovered.  If the brown appearance makes you impatient, you can sod anytime once night temperatures begins to stay in the 70’s.

The good news is that we live in Texas and warm temperatures will be here soon to stay for a few months and your turf will respond to the heat!


This is the time of the year that you need to start paying attention to your yard.  If you do the following 4 things, you will set your landscape up for success through the remainder of the year and avoid most weeds and sprinting away from fire ants.

1.                  Neem Oil Landscape Treatment- Spray all trees, shrubs, perennials and ground cover with Neem Oil for the control of over wintering insects and diseases. Neem Oil is a non toxic, organic pest control material that is very safe for use in your yard. This is a homeowner’s dream material. Safe and it works!  It is the only product I use in my yard and garden. 

2.                  Summer Weed Prevention- Apply a pre-emergent weed control to all turf and beds now to avoid summer weeds. Treatment times for the year are March15, May 15 and September 15. Apply Halts, Preen or Pre-M. Selective pre-emergent herbicides are mild materials that effectively control weeds without endangering turf and landscape plants that already have existing roots. They kill only germinating weed seeds.

3.                  Spring Fertilization- Fertilize your turf and shrub beds now with a fertilizer such as Scott’s Turf Builder for Southern Lawns slow release fertilizer with an analysis of 32-0-10. Use a spreader with edge guard to keep fertilizer off hard surfaces. Scott’s spreaders are good to use with Scott’s fertilizers.  Any fertilizer you purchase should be more expensive indicating that the nitrogen  is slow release.  The quick release fertilizers are polluting and not as safe for the environment.

4.                  Fire Ant Control- Treat your whole landscape (turf and beds) with fire ant control such as Over’n Out at the end of March or in April for 6 month long fire ant control. Apply per label instructions.

Enjoy your landscape!! 

We Create Community!

What makes our community different from any around town?  I'm glad you asked.  Here's why:

At Pomona we create community living.  We are different from other communities because we bring back the nostalgic feel of community that you don’t really see much of anymore.  It’s neighbors doing life together—through the good and the bad times. The culture of community here is strong. People move here because they want to know their neighbors, they want to make friends, and they want to be active and social. There is a great sense of togetherness and belonging that you just don’t see in other neighborhoods.

Your HOA team—both the General Manager and Lifestyle manager--promotes a culture of community by investing in the lives of our residents. We live it out with them. Neighbors become our family. We help neighbors when they are struggling, connect them to others who are walking through similar situations. We know people by name, their children’s name, their interests, and what sports their kids play.  We are authentic and relational, which builds trust with the neighbors and the HOA team.  CLICK HERE to enjoy a video we created to help show you what we are talking about!



Gardening by the Moon: Plants Vs. Extended Freezing Temperatures

It has happened again this year!  There has been 60 to 72 hours of 20 degree weather depending on your location.  The events in December and January with extended, extreme cold weather has been very hard on many of your plant materials.  The damages are severe because of the temperature fluctuation from warmer temperatures to extended freezing temperatures with no opportunity for plants to acclimate to the colder temperature.  Once this happens, tender foliage and stems die.   Plants turn brown, drop leaves, and often look like wet tissue paper due to cells in the plant bursting when the moisture in the plant cells turns to ice.

Unfortunately, all newly planted plant materials were very susceptible to this freeze damage.  Thin barked trees such as lacebark elm trees, vitex and crape myrtle will have severe damage.  There is a possibility that these plants will die back to the ground, especially the crape myrtle and vitex.  Even heavier barked trees such as live oak and Chinese pistache will experience bark splitting from this kind of extreme weather.

Do not panic because most of your established perennial plants and shrubs are still alive.   They will need to be cut back but you do not have to rush to do this.  They will need to be cut back by the end of February to the middle of March to remove dead and damaged leaves and branches.  If you have already cut back these plants, that is okay.  I normally wait and give some time to be able to identify all the damage to the plant.  Many times you will see splitting on the stems and that is also freeze damage.  That will need to be removed in spring, if you see this damage.  If you are unsure about what to remove, wait until spring greenup and cut back to new green growth.

I have had questions about covering plant material during periods of extreme cold weather.  Covering only helps for a short period of freezing temperatures (four hours or less).  When temperatures are in the 20’s or below for an extended period of time and especially with high winds, covering does not help.  If you see that a period of freezing weather is expected, you should make sure plants are watered before the event. 

To encourage new plant growth, fertilize all plant material – trees, shrubs and ground cover – in February.  Unfortunately, living in Texas, we can always expect extreme temperature changes in the winter.  This year has been a repeat of last year when unusually cold temperatures occurred for an extended period of time with wind and no time for plants to acclimate.