Can plants hit hard by winter storms be nursed back to health?

There are many very sad-looking plants and trees in Central Texas following last week's winter storms, but are they dead or can they be nursed back to health?

The hardest-hit plants are those that weren't covered or brought inside during days of sub-freezing temperatures, including palm trees, citrus trees, agave, and various types of cacti. 

RELATED: Texas weather whiplash: 1 week after winter storm froze state, temps are back up to 70s, 80s

Many were blanketed in snow and ice for more than a week, but if you take action now and are patient, you may see them come back to life this spring.

"It's really going to be a waiting game," said Mark Gibbs with the Great Outdoors Garden Center in Austin. "You can clean things off - but, no more than 70 percent. So, like on those agaves, everything on the ground level, that's going to get pretty mushy and gross. So, the sooner you get rid of it the better off the plants going to be."


Gibbs adds, "Again, leave 30 percent of that junk, get rid of the rest to get that sunlight in there. And, as in April probably, the ground temperature will switch, you'll see the bases of those perennials start to push and then you'll know where to get rid of the rest of the bad stuff because you'll see the new stuff coming back on."

The same goes for most taller cacti; remove about 70 percent of the dead part on top. When it comes to palm trees, you should remove dead palm fronds, except those closes to the top of the tree which will have new shoots.


The Great Outdoors has several gardening videos on YouTube, including videos on salvaging your weather-beaten trees and plants.