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Is Your Garden a Mess After the Phoenix Cold Snap? An Expert Has Tips for Recovery.

We had an extended cold snap here in Phoenix and after that we got pummeled with rain. Chances are, your yard looks like a 5-day-old salad bar. Gary Brown from Sun Belt Landscaping has been a landscape designer in Arizona for 35 years and agreed to let us in on some helpful hints on how to deal with your mess of a garden.

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Don't know if your garden or trees will rebound from the extreme weather? Even if you took precautions, your plants and citrus may show signs of distress.

"Check your trees for observable damage to leaves and branches and for resistance to breakage.... brittle branches and dead leaves are a sign that your trees and plants were damaged by the frost. If there's still a healthy tree trunk or the majority of bush is okay, it's probably going to make it," says Brown. WIth that in mind, make sure to remove excess coverings and ensure your vegetable garden has plenty of sun.

While your root vegetables might have made it through, you should inspect decorative landscaping, cacti, trees and small shrubs. If your trees or shrubs look like they might make it, there are some things you can do to help them recover. First says Brown, you obviously need to keep plants covered on any future freeze dates. It seems likes it warmed up this week, but until after February 10 or so, its possible to get another freeze.

The best advice is to wait to trim, even if it means living with brown leaves. "Most people want to prematurely prune observable damage....I suggest waiting a few more weeks for the weather to warm up consistently before pruning," says Brown. Check in with local nurseries to see which tools are best for the job, you don't want to do further damage. What you use on edible greens will differ from what you should use to prune roses or shrubs.

It's tempting to want to perk up your garden immediately. For a colorful spring, Brown recommends that you plant geraniums, replace your potted petunias that didn't survive the frost, and plant new bulbs that will bloom in March. Once it warms up, you can add compost to the garden.

It has just rained and you might have turned your water off, but soon the weather will be getting warmer as spring rolls in. Don't forget to adjust your water settings. Brown says that "general landscape plants only need water one time per 10 days right now," but that you should move up your waterings to once a week as it warms. "Of course your grass, flowers and annuals need more regular soil moisture," says Brown. Once it is warm, you'll want to water general plants at least once a week. Many plants will really have benefitted from the rain, provided you keep them on a good watering schedule.

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