Winter Storm Uri brought freezing temps and ice to Texas this February, leaving tens of thousands without water and power. While many citizens experienced busted pipes and other damage, Texas plants and trees received the biggest blow.

Carol Curtiss, an adjunct professor in the San Jacinto College Maritime Program and the continuing and professional development (CPD) division, is a master gardener licensed through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension program. She shares these helpful tips to get your garden back in shape.

  1. Don’t water your plants right away. “Plants that have been covered in ice need time to finish absorbing the moisture that was covering them. That should be sufficient moisture for a few days.”
  2. Check the state of your foliage. “If the dead leaves are mushy, they should be removed right away, or it could rot the entire plant. Removing them will allow air and sunlight to the plant and facilitate regrowth.” 
  3. You don’t need to remove all dead material. “Dead leaves dry out and serve as a thin layer of protection in case of another freeze.”
  4. Prune your plants carefully. “You don’t need to prune or remove plants until you have determined the extent of injury. It is ok to prune broken branches, of course. Be sure to make the cut in the appropriate place to avoid insect and disease entry into the tree.”
  5. Give it time. “Damage may not be apparent for months. Once you clear away rot, let your plants breathe and recuperate.” 
  6. Get used to ugly for a while. “Your garden will likely look brown or yellow for a while following a freeze, but if you give it time, life will come back. You will see flowers bloom and new green growth.”

By Melissa Trevizo

To get more garden-saving tips, you can sign up for gardening courses through San Jacinto College’s CPD Life Long Learning Program. To learn more, visit