Happy New Year! 2014 is looking bright and we have some big things planned for SmartScape this year. So check back often for updates of events occurring around North Central Texas this spring.
Winter is here, and with that comes freezing temperatures. While here in North Texas we may only get freezing temperatures a few times throughout the season, it is important to make sure your plants and pipes are protected. Get faucet protectors to keep your outside faucets from freezing and breaking. Remember to winterize your irrigation system by removing the water from the system (there is usually a relief value that will allow you to do this) and turning the system off until spring. If you practiced deep, infrequent watering throughout the summer, then the rainfall through the winter should be plenty to keep your plants alive.
If it is going to be a hard freeze, water perennials, shrubs, and trees deeply just before. This watering will help protect the roots, which may be exposed to cold air pockets in the soil and will help prevent plant tissue dehydration from the cold, dry winds.
One of the great things about using perennials that are listed on this site is that they harden off each winter and come back year after year, saving you time and money each spring. For example, Lantana will drop all of its foliage around the first cold snap in the fall and will harden off when it freezes. You can cut the plant back to just above the ground to keep your flower beds looking clean through the winter, and then in the spring all new growth will come through. This also helps protect the plant from hard freezes. No running out in the cold to put a blanket over your plants each night it drops below freezing. If you design your flower beds using the principles and plants outlined here, you can have a great looking garden year round with very little work.