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February's winter storm killed hundreds of plants, leaving locals with thousands in possible damage

Posted at 3:40 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 16:40:35-04

GATESVILLE, TX — February's arctic blast wreaked havoc across Texas. Millions are still dealing with the aftermath, fixing damaged pipes, flooded homes and dead plants.

While gardens and trees should be flourishing, this spring Texans are dealing with brittle flower beds and bare shrubs.

"Our shrubs are pretty much wiped out. I don't think they'll survive it. We'll have to start all over from that again, from scratch, and those have been planted since 2005,"said Jimmy Hicks.

Hicks has lived in Gatesville for decades, sitting on several acres of land with trees that have been there for more than 15 years.

"I like these trees. It's got a lot of history behind them," he said.

That history could be gone for good. Hicks, who is very concerned about losing his plants, says it would be devastating to lose everything.

So, he's doing what he can to revive what's left. Otherwise, Hicks may have to dig up everything, which could be costly.

"If we had to pull it all out, I'd try to do it myself, but if i couldn't, we're looking at several thousands of dollars. It's gonna be a lot of money to replace everything," he said.

Hicks waters his plants and trees at least two to three times a day, hoping time heals all.

Local landscape experts say dull and bare plants don't necessarily mean all hope is lost.

"Just because they have brown leaves, it's kinda one of those things. Certain one's, if they are dropping their leaves, that's typically a good thing. That means they are falling off to allow for room for new growth. If they are still holding on to the leaves, that's the one's you are kinda iffy about that are probably dead," eplained Will Houck, manager at Westview Nursery and Landscape.

He says every plants is different. Some plants are worse off than others. For example, pedlums, hawthornes and rosemary plants suffered the worst damage.

"I had at least 70% of them die from this freeze. Typically on a normal winter, sitting in teens, I haven't had any problem, but this year, it [the winter storm] just really did a number on them," Houck said.

Many plants couldn't withstand the below freezing temperatures. If you're not sure which plants are dead and which are alive, Houck says to call an expert.

"We go out every day. We're looking at 30 to 40 yards, telling people, 'Hey, look this one's dead. This needs to be replaced. These are okay,'" he said.

Your best bet is time.

"Give it like a two to four week period to get it [plants] going and see what comes back," Houck said.

A number of plants may have to be dug up, but doing so too soon could run the risk of uprooting some that don't need to be.

Give it some time, and you may be surprised at just how resilient some plants can be.