Laurie Garretson: What should be done in garden now?

By Laurie Garretson
Feb. 8, 2018 at 10:28 p.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2018 at 1 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

Laurie Garretson   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Every year at this time, I get lots of questions about what can be done with all the ugly-looking plants in our yards: Are they dead? Should I cut them back? How much can I cut them? Should I just pull them up? Can I now transplant plants to other locations?

I realize we gardeners like our gardens to look nice, but there is a good time and a not-so-good time to tackle different seasonal gardening chores. So, let's go over some of the do's and don'ts.

Although many plants have died because of the cold weather the past few weeks, there are many that have survived. I know lots of plants look dead, but in reality, there probably are many plant root systems that are still very much alive. These plants can be cut back, watered if needed and fed. Then comes the hard part. You need to be patient, and with some warm, sunny weather; regular feeding; and proper watering, these plants should grow back.

Then there are tropical and less hardy varieties of plants that could be dead and could be pulled up and discarded. If in doubt about the status of a plants health - if it's dead or still alive - then ask someone who can help you. In many cases, it may just take time to discover new growth sprouting from bare stems or from the root systems.

There are some varieties of plants that won't start to show signs of cold damage for weeks to come. Citrus, plumerias, young fruit trees and many tropical varieties of plants can take time before showing signs of cold-weather damage.

Shrub-type roses can be pruned back and fed now. Antique-type roses do not necessarily need to be pruned. How you want your antique-type roses to look is up to you. Climbing roses can be cut back after a blooming cycle.

Hardier herbs such as rosemary, sage, catnip, oregano and thyme could be trimmed back and fed now. I just finished trimming all mine back this week.

Now is also an OK time to relocate young trees or shrubs.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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