Golden Rule Dwelling and Backyard provides gardening headache options following freeze

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Desperate gardeners, disappointed with the state of their garden, trees and hedges after the storm of Winter Storm Uri, has some good news and some bad news.

The owner of the Cypress House and Garden Center, Ron Lohr, gave some advice to anxious homeowners who were ready to rake everything and start over. The simple news – at least not yet.

With a decade of experience, the owner of Golden Rule Home and Garden, who has done extensive work in northwest Harris County, has some tips to help homeowners and he speaks with experience.

“I am a country boy and grew up in Virginia. I’m very familiar with soil, farming, gardening, and tree work, ”he said.

When he turned 18, he attended college that focused on organic, organic horticulture and landscaping. As a student, he worked part-time as a landscaper.

“I was introduced to the idea of ​​not using chemicals, treating the soil and plants with care, and using biological means to deal with situations,” he said. “I’m in the biological camp of thinking,” he said.

Ten years ago he went for a walk with his dog and saw the neighbors’ houses and gutters with mini-trees growing out of their gutters.

“I told myself there was a huge need here and I did some checks and found that the person cleaning the gutters is using a watering method that is very messy and nasty,” he said.

It inspired him to start a gutters cleaning business.

“I used a blower to make less clutter and walked on the roof with safety lines to protect myself,” he said. He also tidied up after his work.

After that, his business started snowing.

His business has grown, a lot through word of mouth, but also because he was a member of Business Network International and Cy-Fair Business Partners for the past four years.

“I’m also a very careful and detailed person, and there is a market for that kind of accuracy. Not everyone cares about some of the things I do, like trees, ”he said.

When pruning trees, he uses the three-cut method.

Palm damage

Around Houston Market, palm trees are high on the list for many homeowners.

“People love palm queens, but the problem with them is that they don’t belong in the Houston area.

His simple prognosis – they’re dead. Dead.

“In general, the sago palms will be fine. They need to be circumcised and in most cases they can, ”he said.

In the middle of these two categories are roughly 40 hybrid strains that generally have a chance of survival when mixed with a heartier strain.

His trusted advisor, Phillip Goodwin, owner of Green Source Advantage, provided more detailed information.

“Given the length of freezing temperatures recorded in Texas in the week of February 14-19, I suspect significant damage, including death, to the following palm species: Phoenix robellenii (dwarf date), Phoenix Sylvester (silver date palm), more than likely Phoenix dactylifera (edible date palm) and Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm). Included in that list are Syagrus romanzoffiana (queen palm), Washingtonian robusta (Mexican fan palm) and Sabal palmetto (Florida sabal palm), ”he said.

Goodwin also stated that the only two exceptions to the list were the Washington palms, which hybridize with the Washington filifera, an extremely cold, hardy palm.

“Depending on the degree of hybridization, many of the mixed genetic palms can be spared. There is a similar dynamic in the Florida sabal palm and Texas (Mexican sabal palm), another extremely cold, hardy palm, ”he said.

“I’ve seen almost all of the palm trees suffer leaf damage, with the exception of sabals (which may be Texas sabals),” he said.

His suggestion to the homeowners was to cut off the damaged foliage and the wait game would go on to see if they would produce new foliage.

“If the growth tip turns to mush, that palm is dead and should be removed. As long as the tip remains firm, that palm has a chance of survival, ”he said.

According to Goodwin, palms like the Sabal Palmetto Minor, Trachycarpus fortuneii (windmill palm), Chamerops humilis (Mediterranean fan palm), Butia capitata (Pindo palm) and Cycas revoluto (sago palm) are considered hardy in Texas and should show little to no cosmetic damage by freezing.

Trees, bushes and flower beds, oh my god!

According to Lohr, the general rule for these trees and shrubs in the yard is simply: “If you have any doubts, don’t pull them out.”

Agapanthus, brightly colored ginger, and soft plants like lilies have already died and are already a blob, he said.

“This blob needs to be dealt with very quickly,” he said. The bacteria migrate into the root ball and kill the plant. “

Lohr tells his anxious customers that they will not come to the conclusion that something could be dead. Be patient.

“With the lightbulbs, you can only wait and see. In most cases, the yearbooks are already history. Most people are waiting for the spring and summer yearbooks to arrive, and some have, ”he said.

Whatever is above the ground and obviously dead, cut it off near the ground. Some are not that patient.

“Some of them are concerned that even if they grow back, they will be skinny and unsightly and not want to be, so they pull them out,” he said.

The green grass of your home

There can be good news on the brown grass.

“St. Augustine is asleep anyway. Brown is normal for this time of year, ”he said. In most cases there is nothing to worry about.

“We make a lot of top dressings for lawns and I use a product called leaf mold compost,” said Lohr.

He explained that there are two camps that are used to treat a lawn – the chemical and the biological.

“We like to take about half an inch of leaf mold compost, spread it on a lawn in St. Augustine, and add a Microlife Humates Plus product to add life to the soil,” he said.

He also warned that generally unhealthy lawns and floors do not contain enough oxygen.

“Let the earthworms and nematodes do their thing,” he said.

Lohr says he relies on other experts for advice, and one is John Ferguson, the owner of Nature’s Way Resources.

“He hasn’t watered his St. Augustine lawn since 2012,” he said curiously. “Just think about the money he saved. He owns a mulch and compost factory, and the root system in most lawns goes down five or six inches. The root system in his lawn goes six to eight feet down! “

Ferguson conducted a survey of 10,000 problematic lawns in southeast Texas and found that 80 percent of those lawns were overwatered.

The final game

Lohr said he was available for help, but also admitted that he learned a lot from courses offered by the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance. The managing director of OHBA is Dany Millikin, who presents HomeShow Garden Pros on the radio every Saturday at 7 a.m. on SportsRadio 610AM in Houston. To find out more about the services Lohr offers, he can be contacted on his website goldenrulehouston.com or by calling 713-806-3432.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com