The lingering effects of the days between Feb. 14 and 21, one of the coldest seven-day periods on record, continue to be evident in residential landscapes throughout Town as many shrubs and some trees did not survive the sustained freeze.
“There were no neighborhoods in Prosper that were spared of the devastation from both the sustained cold temperatures and the extended snow accumulation on plants,” says Parks Superintendent Matt Furr. “Every part of Town, to varying degrees, was affected. Not only did some plants die due to the freeze, but many have seen a significant delay in their usual timetable for emerging from winter dormancy.”
Recovering from the winter snowstorm and restoring the landscaping to previous health and aesthetic appeal may be problematic for some, causing the Town to extend the deadline for compliance with landscaping code until Nov. 1. Town requirements may differ from individual homeowner association requirements, including grace periods. Residents should check with their HOA or property management company for specifics related to their homes.
The Town’s grace period expiring on Nov. 1 extends to commercial establishments as well. Among the factors contributing to the difficulties faced by property owners is the uncertainty of whether or not a plant will revive even with dead leaves. Some plants have responded to the cold by pushing past their usual blossoming.
Many plants and trees that did not survive still remain place, requiring homeowners to remove the branches by cutting and disposing of the dead limbs as well as the trunks and root systems. That is a time-consuming process, and one which may require the services of landscape companies, which are currently overwhelmed.
Topping the replacement problem is the scarcity of plant inventory in the local area as many nurseries are sold out of available greenery. Commercial establishments, many of which replaced their entire landscaping shortly after the winter storm, have placed nurseries and plant suppliers in the unenviable position of being short on stock.
“All of these factors combined could be the start of an equally difficult period once summer begins to approach,” said Furr. “Not only is the planting season a relatively small window, but forecasters are predicting an especially harsh summer, perhaps returning to drought conditions.”
Residents are being asked to bear these issues in mind when planning on their landscape restoration and are encouraged to begin making plans very soon. One suggestion is to replicate the original landscaping scheme where possible or replace dead shrubs with those included in the Town’s landscaping suggestion list.
“If nothing else, removing the dead plants and shrubs and leaving the space open for subsequent planting is preferred,” added Furr. “With the November grace period, some homeowners may choose to plant in the fall.”
The list of tolerant trees, bushes, shrubs, and grasses can be found at https://www.prospertx.gov/landscaping-in-prosper/.